Rock Chic

Conceived by Ian Spero and produced by his company BigTime, Rockchic is a lovingly crafted and expertly staged tribute to the life and times of the electric guitar, featuring a decade-by-decade history of the instrument spanning its 75 years in commercial production. Over 130 guitars are featured, including instruments owned and signed by artists like Keith Richards, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Paul Mc Cartney and Neil Young. The Irish contingent includes a large collection owned by the late, Rory Gallagher, and instruments donated by The Edge, Van Morrison, Mark Hamilton of Ash and a shamrock-shaped bass by Horslips. The guitar played by the Undertones on the original ‘Teenage Kicks' recording, is also on display.

Videos charting the careers of Hendrix, Nirvana, The Who and Rory Gallagher are also dotted around, with the centrepiece of the exhibition being the very first electric guitar, Adolph Rickenbacker's “frying pan”, which is on display for the very first time outside the US.

Another highlight is the small collection of beautiful guitars made by Tony Tomlinson. These include one designed to pay homage to Sheffield and its industrial history which contains aluminium, wood and machinery from power stations and steelworks from the area, and a frightening wooden instrument entitled ‘Silence', carved to depict a cobra and a struggling victim.

A large number of artists and musicians such as; David LaChapelle, Diane von Furstenberg, Bono, Bryan Adams, Graham Coxon and even Jennifer Lopez, have also customised their own guitars – these will go to auction at the end of the exhibition.These artistic impressions have been created using a wide range of materials including; diamonds, python skin and photographic images. Some have chosen to produce signature artworks or to tell a story, while others have used this project, as an opportunity to pay homage to their own heroes.

Entry to the exhibition is free, but all the proceeds from the auction will go to charities nominated by the artists involved. Anyone with a passing interest in rock music or even art, would find this exhibition hugely enjoyable and rewarding. Credit must go to Ted Polhemus for creating an inspiring and accessible tribute to some of the greatest figures in music history.

National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. until 21 January