NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mar. 2, 2023 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum recently unveiled a new exhibition that presents the works of celebrity photographer Raeanne Rubenstein (1945-2019) in the museum’s Community Corridor, located on the first floor. The exhibit, titled Raeanne Rubenstein: Shooting Stars, features photographs of celebrities and musical luminaries taken between 1969 and 1979, including many now iconic images of country music artists. The exhibit is free and open to the public through May 2023.
Spanning more than 50 years, Rubenstein’s work was known for capturing the essence of her subjects. She photographed a diverse array of cultural figures, including Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry, Jimi Hendrix, Dustin Hoffman, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Kiss, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Yoko Ono, the Who, Andy Warhol, Robin Williams and Country Music Hall of Fame members Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jerry Lee Lewis, among other personalities.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum’s adjacent Haley Gallery — located within the museum building, which is also free to access — will feature an additional selection of Rubenstein’s photographs beginning Friday, March 10.
Born in 1945 in Staten Island, New York, Rubenstein got her start in the East Village underground scene and developed into a favored photographer for Life, People, Rolling Stone, Time and other publications. A 1970 assignment to photograph Johnny Cash at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium led Rubenstein to embrace country music, and she played a significant role in many Nashville stars gaining their first feature articles in leading national publications. After thirty years as a New York-based celebrity photographer, she made Nashville her full-time residence in 1998. That year, she founded Dish, an online entertainment and style magazine based in Nashville.
Rubenstein published 10 photography books, including Honky Tonk Heroes: A Photo Album of Country Music (1975) and Gone Country: Portraits of Country Music’s New Stars (1997). Her photographs have appeared in many other books and have been exhibited in Dublin, London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.
Community Corridor exhibit
Twenty-six of Rubenstein’s photographs are on display in the museum’s Community Corridor, including:
- B.B. King at the Newport Jazz Festival (Newport, Rhode Island, 1969).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Loretta Lynn and husband, Mooney, on their farm (Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, 1975).
- Barbara Mandrell, preparing to appear on the TV program “Hee Haw” (1975).
- Willie Nelson, backstage at the 2nd Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Texas World Speedway (College Station, Texas, 1974).
- Gram Parsons and Nudie Cohn, posing on a worktable at Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors (North Hollywood, California, 1969).
- Dolly Parton, in her tour bus (Nashville, 1979). Rubenstein photographed several recording artists with their tour buses for a photo essay in Life magazine.
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Charley Pride (Nashville, 1975).
- Little Richard (1971).
- Tanya Tucker, on her 16th birthday (Little Rock, Arkansas, 1974).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Dottie West, with her dog Tiger, at her home (Nashville, 1975).
Other items on display in the Community Corridor exhibit include magazine covers featuring Rubenstein’s images, two of her cameras and correspondence, including a note from John Lennon and Yoko Ono — in Lennon’s handwriting — specifying the couple’s selections of Rubenstein’s photos for use on the front and back covers of the 1971 edition of Ono’s pioneering work of conceptual art, Grapefruit.
Haley Gallery exhibit
Twenty of Rubenstein’s photographs will be on display in the Haley Gallery beginning on March 10, including:
- Country Music Hall of Fame members Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl backstage at the Grand Ole Opry House (Nashville, 1988).
- Jimmy Buffet at the 2nd Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic (College Station, Texas, 1974).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris at the first Farm Aid concert (Champaign, Illinois, 1985).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter (Nashville, 1976).
- Country Music Hall of Fame members George Jones and Tammy Wynette with their daughter Georgette outside their home (Nashville, 1975).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson (Nashville, 1975).
- Jeannie Seely, Country Music Hall of Fame member Loretta Lynn and others cheerleading at a softball game benefiting multiple sclerosis (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1975).
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Buck Owens standing outside his recording studio (Bakersfield, California, 1975).
The museum administers the Raeanne Rubenstein collection for her estate.
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