Morrison Hotel Gallery keeps rock alive at old CBGB spot
The Morrison Hotel Gallery on the Bowery is the second in the city. The first is on Prince Street in SoHo.
By Lana Bortolot
Special to amNew York
Morrison Hotel Gallery is helping to keep rock and art alive at the old CBGB.
The gallery on the Bowery, where the former punk-rock club and its art gallery used to be, sells some of the most classic images in music history.
The Morrison Hotel brand was formed seven years ago by Peter Blachley, a former record industry executive, Rich Horowitz, an independent record store owner, and Henry Diltz, a photographer with a deep archive of famous images. One of Diltzs most famous album covers, The Morrison Hotel, shot for The Doors, was the inspiration for the gallery name.The owners first gallery is on Prince Street in SoHo, but they now have locations in La Jolla, Calif.; Los Angeles; Manhasset, Long Island; and the latest is at the old CBGB space.
Blachley said the opportunity to expand the brand in a historic place brought their gallery concept full circle.
There are famous photographs of music legends from Miles Davis to Beck, and the gallery sells the works of top photographers, from jazz photographer Herman Leonard to Janette Beckman.
Blachley said there is a hot market for the type of music memorabilia he is dealing in.
I knew that people would have an emotional reaction to the images, but we really did it as something fun to do, Blachley said. We soon realized that based on what we saw in peoples interest and sales, we were generating enough to expand.
The heavily trafficked Prince Street storefront generates the most sales, Blachley said.
SoHo is completely different from the Bowery in that its very sophisticated and draws people from all over the world, Blachley said. We have a lot of European customers who have a specific interest in owning a piece of American rock n roll history.
One of the best sellers at the moment is a Frank Stefanko black-and-white portrait of a young Bruce Springsteen leaning against his 1960 Corvette. The last of 25 is priced at $12,000.
Blachley said sales in the city have increased an average of 20 percent per year, but he expects the global economic slump will affect his sales numbers.
Photographers who deal with the gallery have instant credibility in the industry, Beckman said.
If Im talking to a label and say Im with Morrison, its like a badge of honor, the photographer said.