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EYE CONTACT Is Visually Stimulating in Music City at Virgin Hotels Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Well, it was our first time visiting Virgin Hotels Nashville and it was a good thing we waited. Because, our initial contact with the new and fabulous gateway to Music Row West coincided with the remarkable opening of EYE CONTACT - a traveling exhibition that features a recently unearthed trove of rare photographs of music icons running from July 20 and recently extended until Tuesday, August 3, 2021 in Music City.


Virgin Hotels Nashville is a stunning new edition to the downtown.

The striking fine art images of music icons run the gamut from David Bowie, Grace Jones and Amy Winehouse to Daft Punk, A$AP Rocky, DMX and Jay-Z. Many of the photographs - outtakes and never-before-seen shots - date back to the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, often capturing the artists in their formative years before their fame and cultural impact were fully realized. One arresting example is Amy Winehouse at her first photo session (2003) predating her debut album and without her signature eyeliner. Another is Lil' Kim, shortly after her federal trial in NYC for conspiracy and perjury, channeling Joan of Arc (2005).


VaultWorks's Dipesh Sinha and Give A Note's Juliana Lee in Nashville.

EYE CONTACT photographers are Tim Bret-Day, Phil Knott and Derrick Santini, three lensmen noted for their unique ability to capture iconic images of music personalities and pop culture figures. All three photographers have been exhibited in major galleries and have illustrious careers shooting in the sectors of fashion, culture, advertising and, as compellingly demonstrated in this exhibition, music.


The David Bowie images were our "best of show" in Nashville.

The name of the exhibit EYE CONTACT is highly relevant today, says VaultWorks co-founder Anik Sood. "EYE CONTACT speaks to the way the pandemic has compelled us to interact - through our eyes, the only exposed part of our face. It also refers to the opportunity the exhibition gives to once again see people and to re-engage in celebrating the arts and culture we've missed over the past 15 months."


Lemmy with some of his favorite beverages.

EYE CONTACT opened at New York City's Equity Gallery from July 14th through the 18th before travelling to Nashville for their showcase at the Commons Club with a VIP opening event held in conjunction with Give A Note Foundation. Los Angeles is set for October 7-10 at the Sportie LA Pop Up Gallery. A London stop is also in the works for Fall. Each exhibition will feature a curated core group of 14 photographs augmented by a selection of images specifically tailored to each city. Duggal Visual Solutions has produced all the works in the exhibition.


EYE CONTACT was displayed throughout the Commons Club bar and restaurant.

VaultWorks's Managing Director Dipesh Sinha says they revel in the act of discovery. "When we dig into our photographers' archives and unearth long-lost images or artifacts of significant moments of cultural history, there's a real kid-on-Christmas-morning feeling. And then to figure out how to share what we've found with the world in a meaningful way, to perpetuate that feeling of discovery and inspire more curiosity, that's really exciting."


The jazzy JQ Quartet set a classy tone for EYE CONTACT.

EYE CONTACT was the latest in Give A Note Foundation's Summer Happy Hour Series partnership with Virgin Hotels Nashville to benefit Give A Note's music education in K-12 public schools. In Nashville, our "best of show" went to the stunning series of David Bowie images Tim Bret-Day that featured multiple images of the Thin White Duke. Musical entertainment was provided by the jazzy JQ Quartet and Dee Jay Q. Ample delectable appetizers were served straight from the Commons Club kitchen to round out the feast for the senses in midtown.


Even the hotel's lobby was a music related work of art.

Related Links: For more information on EYE CONTACT and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - VaultWorks | Nashville Collection for Sale | Give A Note Foundation | Virgin Hotels Nashville

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