Paul Simon: Words & Music

April 27–September 10, 2017

About the Exhibition

Making its only West Coast stop at the Skirball, Paul Simon: Words & Music—a traveling exhibition curated by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum—illustrates how the legendary artist’s music has reflected social and cultural ideals.

Based on exclusive interviews with the artist, the show will walk visitors through Paul Simon’s life and music and illuminate his creative process. On view will be instruments, records, sheet music, handwritten lyrics, photography, costumes, and stage maquettes, as well as listening stations and performance footage spanning Simon’s six-decade career. Exclusively for the Los Angeles presentation, Paul Simon: Words & Music will include additional artifacts from Simon’s private archive and a newly created music lab developed by the Skirball in cooperation with Roland Corporation. Details about the exhibition to be announced in the coming months!

About the Artist

Paul Simon (b. 1941) has spent his life making music. From his first compositions as a teen and his celebrated work in Simon & Garfunkel to his transformative collaborations with world musicians up to and including his current work, Simon’s evolution has been grounded in a lifelong quest to find the words, music, and rhythms that connect most deeply with listeners. Through his songs, he has captured the story of generations and the mood of the nation, from disillusionment and fear to hope and compassion. As the exhibition reveals, he stands as a sterling example of the power of music to reflect social and cultural ideals and to communicate them to the rest of the world.

In choosing Simon among its “Greatest Songwriters of All Time,” Rolling Stone hailed, “If Paul Simon’s career had ended with the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel in 1970, he would still have produced some of the most beloved songs ever. … But Simon was just getting started. The quintessential New York singer-songwriter, he switches between styles effortlessly with as much attention to rhythm as melody, a rare quality among artists who came of age in the folk era. Over the decades, his music has incorporated Tin Pan Alley tunecraft, global textures, gentle acoustic reveries, gospel, R&B and electronic music, all without diluting his core appeal as an easeful chronicler of everyday alienation.”

“It’s absolutely true that music brings people together in a way that they can’t find in any other form. It’s nonverbal, and it goes to something that’s deeply ingrained in our DNA. It’s a really powerful force.”—Paul Simon

PAUL SIMON: WORDS & MUSIC WAS CURATED BY THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, CLEVELAND, OHIO.