At the Met: From Guitarmania to Beatlemania
With Dick Boak and Laurence Juber
The Metropolitan Museum of Art gave a lecture about Martin Guitars, featuring Dick Boak, who has worn many hats at Martin and now is the company’s chief archivist, historian and head of the Martin museum. He was joined by two-time Grammy award winner Laurence Juber, who is among the finest guitarists of this or any era. Juber’s first book, Guitar with Wings, is set for release in May 2014, and features his personal photography from the years he spent as a member of Paul McCartney and Wings.
This presentation was in conjunction with the almost year-long exhibit of early American guitars at the Met, with the great majority of those guitars made by C.F. Martin Sr., who arrived from Saxony in the 1833 to set up business in New York City, before moving shortly thereafter to Nazareth, PA. That is where his great, great, great, grandson runs the family business today.
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Associate Curator in the Met’s Musical Instrument department was the primary organizer of the exhibit, and he opened today’s events with a short slideshow detailing Martin’s background, and explaining how Martin experimented his way to the designs that gave rise to the modern guitar as we know it. This part of the presentation focused on the recent scholarship that resulted in the book Inventing The American Guitar: The Pre-Civil War Innovations of C.F. Martin and His Contemporaries. It is a most impressive work, which will soon be reviewed here.
Boak’s portion of the hour+ event was called “Guitarmania to Beatlemania.” As he ran a slideshow, he provided often humorous commentary and firsthand anecdotes, while Laurence Juber provided musical excerpts on various guitars from the Martin museum, as well as adding many of his own interesting comments and historical references.