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Ron Wood debuts art at Butler

Published: Tue, September 21, 2010 @ 11:30 p.m.




The Butler Institute of American Art was buzzing with excitement Tuesday as eager crowds waited in the balmy September air for the opening of Ronnie Wood’s first American art exhibition.

The Rolling Stones guitarist/artist drew fans from far and wide for his show titled “Ronnie Wood: Paintings, Drawings and Prints,” which features 30 paintings, 22 pen-and-pencil drawings and seven mixed-media works.

Lena Natale, a diehard Stones fan, drove four hours from Gettysburg, Pa., to see Wood’s artwork.

“I listened to the Stones the whole time I was driving,” Natale said before the opening. “I know Ronnie as a musician, not an artist. I can’t wait to see the exhibit!”

Tickets to the Tuesday evening premiere cost $200, and the guest list was restricted.

The doors opened at 8 p.m., and the atmosphere was electric when Wood descended the stairs and addressed the crowd of about 300 in the Butler’s main gallery.

Wood said he was thrilled to have his “first proper” American exhibition.

“I hope you all enjoy it,” he said. “Your museum does it very proud.”

Wood added that he was pleased to see his art displayed in a generous space rather than in his crowded studio.

“In my studio the art looks [the size of] postage stamps compared to how it looks here,” he said.

As crowds explored the three galleries displaying Wood’s work, many expressed awe and admiration over the high caliber of the art.

“I think it’s amazing that he is such a talented visual artist as well as such a talented musician,” said Chris Chuirazzi of Cortland. “It is fantastic that he has the ability to do both so well.”

Chuirazzi and his wife, Mary, both members of the Butler, said their favorite piece is a painting titled “Beggar’s Banquet,” which is the highlight of the show.

Lou Zona, Butler executive director, praised the painting for its use of baroque-like light, varied textures and clever placement of elements.

In addition to being awestruck by the artwork, onlookers were dazzled by the British rocker’s presence.

Spiky-haired and casually dressed, Wood was laid back and full of smiles as he mingled briefly with fans.

“This is incredible,” said Kathy Miller of Boardman. “He is such a talented artist and seems like such a normal, down-to-earth guy. It is incredible to have him here in Youngstown.”

Donna Wainio of Youngstown called the exhibit “fantastic for the community.”

“It is so thrilling to have his art displayed at The Butler,” Wainio said.

Sandy Mitchell, a high school art teacher from Leetonia, plans to bring her students to see the exhibition.

“I love the energy and colors,” Mitchell said. “He has a special talent for portraits.”

Portraits of Rolling Stones bandmates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts dominate the exhibition, which runs until Nov. 21. There also are several portraits of celebrities, including Jack Nicholson and Mohammed Ali.

Although Wood, 63, is best known as a musician, he has been drawing and painting since age 12 and received formal training at Ealing College of Art in London.

Zona said Wood actually thinks of himself as more of a visual artist and wants to be remembered more for his visual art than his music.

“It is difficult to discount his incredible contributions to music, but for this exhibition we focused on Ronnie Wood the artist instead of Ronnie Wood the musician,” Zona said.


1JTJT(1 comment)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Yo Brown - You Youngstown Folk have been working on getting this show for about 5 years - The shirt is from Ronnies own clothing line and most likely cost more than your entire wardrobe - He is an artist and by no means is showing disrespect - There is a meaning to the phrase "I Feel Like Painting" - We all have demons that need to be tamed - see if you can figure it out.......

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2pindrop(21 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Brown... WTH is the matter with you...
... is that all you can say???

Ronnie is a long-time, very successful rocker. You actually think he is here to appease you? Just be grateful that someone of his caliber stepped one foot into Youngstown, OH.

I never would have realized the phrase " I feel like painting " could be disrespectful...

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3RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

brown and sotired - Do you think before your type or open your mouth?

You want a guitarist from the ROLLING STONES to wear a different shirt? Look a little less like a ROCKSTAR?

Maybe he should cut his hair too, give up that loud music, and start posting stupid comments on vindy.com from his Mom's basement.

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4walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

We have a true gem in the valley with the Butler, they bring in a mega-star to exhibit his works, shining a positive light on an area suffering from many types of cloudiness, and all you can do is criticize his shirt? Amazing.

Congratulations to Dr. Lou Zona and the Butler staff, once again, for providing the valley with a great show.

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5RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Brown - You're projecting. Who is Mike Morley?

Maybe you should get the surviving members of the Beatles to cut their hair.

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6Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


"You people are soooo Y-town---"

And why is that? Your the one that seems to have a issue with a "rock" legend, thats been around the world to many times to mention, on what hes wearing in Youngstown. Unreal the mentality of people that have no clue what it means to see something good for the Valley. I would really hate to be you with your complaining. What next? Complain what kind of cologne he was wearing. Get a life brown. Unreal.

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7Buckeyeplat(7 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It seems every web site has it's Brown type poster.Folks who appear to be self absorbed ,negative and bottom line clueless.

Getting Ronnie Wood and his paintings to the Butler for his first American show is a real coup.

Saw some of his work at a gallery at St.Armands Circle in Florida and he is a very talented artist.

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8prodgodq(172 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


So you no longer live here, but you feel compelled to visit the message board of the city newspaper where you no longer live to attack another artist's appearance there. Sorry but there seems to be some bitterness in your motives.

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9leftyompton4life(79 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Yea lets talk about what this guy is wearing,not about why he is here and what he has brought to the Butler...typical Vindy responses....

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10jvs(1 comment)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

WOW!!! When a rock legend like Ron Wood wants to be remembered more as a visual artist than for his music, this is a GOT TO SEE IT exhibition. What an opportunity to ponder another facet of the works of a contemporary artist who has been a major contributor to popular culture and history for decades. Art is a glimpse into the soul and psyche and very personal. I can't wait to see this exhibit and feel all the energy and emotions carried within the works of this multi-accomplished artist. Thank you Mr. Wood and the Butler Institute.

(On a personal note, I have lived in Washington,DC for 10 years and Europe for 15 years. That's alot of art museums, galleries and art fairs -- and Youngstown - you still do me proud!!!!)

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11walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


From Ron Wood's web-site:

"This exhibition by a well-known British artist is presented as a part of the Butler’s ongoing Influence on America Program, which features exhibitions of work by historic and contemporary artists who have been inspired by or whose work has been informed by American art."

Asked and answered!

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