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Wish you were here? V&A museum puts Pink Floyd on show

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/9/2017 By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press
Mannequins in 'a lightbulb suit' are photographed in front of a 'Learning to Fly' display at the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mannequins in 'a lightbulb suit' are photographed in front of a 'Learning to Fly' display at the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Victoria & Albert Museum's new exhibition is a psychedelic time capsule of a show devoted to the band Pink Floyd, complete with floating pigs, surreal animations and trippy projections.

The inflatable pig above Battersea power station is photographed among art for the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press The inflatable pig above Battersea power station is photographed among art for the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

But it's not the visuals, or the group's experimental and sometimes indulgent music, that marks this out as an ode to a vanished time. It's the economics.

A museum worker poses in front of the metal heads from The Pink Floyd's Division Bell album at the band's exhibition, 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A museum worker poses in front of the metal heads from The Pink Floyd's Division Bell album at the band's exhibition, 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Pink Floyd was given limitless studio time to create sprawling albums that sold in the tens of millions. The band staged multimedia shows so huge and technically ambitious that the set for one tour took eight days to assemble.

The inflatable teacher from Roger Water's tour of 'The Wall' is photographed among art for the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press The inflatable teacher from Roger Water's tour of 'The Wall' is photographed among art for the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Aubrey "Po" Powell, a founder of the Hipgnosis design team behind Pink Floyd's most famous album covers, said the exhibition celebrates "a 25-year golden period when album sales were through the roof and the industry was awash with money to allow renegades to be able to expand."

A man listens to an audio display at the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A man listens to an audio display at the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

"The adage that Pink Floyd had was, the art comes first, the money comes later," Powell said Tuesday at a preview for the exhibition , which opens Saturday and runs to Oct. 1. "It was, 'Whatever it costs do it, because that's what we believe in.'

A letter from one of Pink Floyd's original members Syd Barrett to his girlfriend Jenny Spires, is photographed on display at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, from the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains', an immersive, experimental journey through the band's world of over 350 objects and artefacts. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A letter from one of Pink Floyd's original members Syd Barrett to his girlfriend Jenny Spires, is photographed on display at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, from the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains', an immersive, experimental journey through the band's world of over 350 objects and artefacts. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

"I don't know anybody these days who would put the art first and the money later, because the money isn't there."

A museum worker looks at the cover of Pink Floyd's 1969 album 'Ummagumma', at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, which shows a band member sitting, with a picture on the wall. The picture shows the same scene with a different band member and the effect continues for all four band members. The Pink Floyd Exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' , an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press A museum worker looks at the cover of Pink Floyd's 1969 album 'Ummagumma', at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, which shows a band member sitting, with a picture on the wall. The picture shows the same scene with a different band member and the effect continues for all four band members. The Pink Floyd Exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' , an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and officially opens to the public on 13 May (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

The show, given the elegiac title "Their Mortal Remains," is a return to music for the V&A after its hit 2013 exhibition devoted to David Bowie, which went on to tour the world.

Posters for the famous UFO club from 1967, stand on display with other pieces in the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' the cover of which is displayed at centre,, and officially opens to the public on May 13. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Posters for the famous UFO club from 1967, stand on display with other pieces in the Pink Floyd exhibition 'Their Mortal Remains' at the V&A museum in west London, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, an immersive, experimental journey through Pink Floyd's world of over 350 objects and artefacts from the band. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' the cover of which is displayed at centre,, and officially opens to the public on May 13. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

It traces Pink Floyd from its origins in the 1960s London psychedelic scene — where it was house band for the swinging UFO nightclub — through landmark albums like "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" to the familiar rock 'n' roll story of splits and reconciliations.

On display are scores of instruments, letters, items of clothing and other artifacts, as well as some impressively large installations, including a replica of London's Battersea Power Station. The building appeared — accompanied by a flying pig — on the cover of the 1977 album "Animals." The pig is on display too, of course.

There's a tinge of nostalgia to the show, which comes 50 years after the release of Pink Floyd's first album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" — recorded at Abbey Road Studios while The Beatles created "Sgt. Pepper" in the next room.

"No band today would have the freedom that Pink Floyd arranged to have," said the V&A's Victoria Broackes, who co-curated the exhibition. "And that is where music has — no matter how good the music — sort of come unstuck from society."

Like the Bowie show, the exhibition charts the outward ripples of the band's influence through the arts and technology. It celebrates the technical and artistic collaborators who helped Pink Floyd pioneer psychedelic slide shows, embrace computers and re-imagine the visual side of live performance.

Several band members trained as architects, and the group had a fondness for building and dismantling large structures, like the giant barrier of "The Wall," which was destroyed every night of the band's 1980-81 tour.

The V&A is Britain's leading museum of art and design, and Broackes said that for a musical act to merit an exhibition, "it has to have a huge cultural context, and also a big visual component."

"And that is what we have with Pink Floyd going back to their earliest days," she said — especially "the use of staging, which then goes on to drive the industry forward in the 80s and 90s."

"They've also worked with an amazing range of very interesting people. We're all about the creative industries here, and encouraging people into those industries. So whether you're a designer or an architect or an engineer or a filmmaker there is work here to see and enjoy."

Those coming for the music will not be disappointed, either. It is sprinkled throughout the show, and the final room features wraparound footage of the band performing at the 2005 Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park.

"There's a recognition that people feel very emotional about Pink Floyd and they want to listen to great music and have an emotional experience," Broackes said.

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