Skirball Cultural Center unveils details about upcoming exhibition, 'Paul Simon: Words & Music'

Singer/songwriter Paul Simon will be featured in an exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Calif.,  April 27-Sept. 3, 2017, according to a March 21, 2017, announcement. The exhibition, originally curated by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, will walk visitors through Simon’s life and music and explore his creative process.

Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director stated “Through his extraordinary storytelling and trailblazing exploration of sounds, Paul Simon has captured the spirit of our nation and our times, from disillusionment and fear to hope and compassion,” according to the Skirball press release. He continued to say that the exhibition “invites one and all to celebrate the life and legacy of this prolific artist, whose irresistible songwriting and collaborations with artists around the world have built bridges of understanding and opened minds and hearts.”

Paul Simon, 75, has spent his life making music and has enjoyed an amazing 60-year career in the music industry. He shot to fame during his collaboration with Art Garfunkel in the duo Simon & Garfunkel from 1964 to 1970.

After Simon & Garfunkel parted ways, Simon launched a successful solo career. He recorded three acclaimed albums over the next five years and became regarded as one of the great American composers of the twentieth century.

Simon has received 16 Grammy Awards for his solo and collaborative work, including three Album of the Year Awards for Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years and Graceland. The Grammys presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Simon & Garfield in 2003.

Simon is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including a 1990 induction with Art Garfunkel and a 2001 induction for his solo work. Simon was a recipient at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2002.

“Paul Simon: Words & Music at the Skirball Cultural Center” will be organized chronologically. Themed sections will feature Simon’s early years, the Simon & Garfunkel era, and his solo work from 1971 and beyond.

Guests will be invited to participate in interactive demonstrations, including a communal drum circle keeping the beat to “Cecilia,” and manipulate tracks for the songs “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “Wristband.”  

The exhibition will display items from Simon’s personal archives, including handwritten manuscript lyrics for “Mother and Child Reunion, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “American Tune,” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” Simon’s creative process can be seen in the words to “The Boxer” scrawled on an in-flight magazine and an envelope with an early draft of “Mrs. Robinson.”

Items from Simon’s personal archives on display will include his Kennedy Center Honors medal, his Library of Congress Gershwin Prize, several Grammy Awards, clips from his “Saturday Night Live” appearances, rare photographs, fan letters, and the sheet music for “We are the World” signed by the artists.

Skirball Cultural Center will present a screening of the Emmy-nominated documentary Under African Skies on May 12, 2017. The film traces the origins and impact of Simon’s landmark album Graceland. Prior to the screen, the public will be welcome to enjoy the Museum during the rare evening hours and to get free admission to Paul Simon: Words & Music from 6-10 p.m. Tickets and reservations will be available on the Skirball Cultural Center website in mid-April.