Shaping an Icon Through Rarely Seen Prince Images
Minnesota photographer Allen Beaulieu helped shape the icon we know today as Prince. As Prince’s personal photographer and friend from the late 1970s into the early 1980s, he charted the musician's progression from rising star to superstar. Through it all, Beaulieu had access to Prince that few photographers have had, before or since.
View images Beaulieu captured for the album covers of “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy,” and “1999,” as well as the posthumous release of "Piano and a Microphone" and "Originals." Plus, see live performance shots and behind-the-scenes candids in the new exhibit “Prince: Before the Rain,” opening Sept. 21, 2019, at the Minnesota History Center.
The exhibit features 50 digital prints of Prince, The Revolution, Morris Day and The Time, and other artists as well as a handful of artifacts that speak to Prince’s image.
Designed to feel like an intimate nightclub with black walls, long purple drapes and a glittering chandelier, visitors can relax on a round purple velvet couch while taking in the surrounding images. At the exhibit entrance, fans can take a selfie in front of a wall reminiscent of the famed “graffiti bridge” in Eden Prairie where Beaulieu took promotional photos of Prince.
The exhibit draws from the MNHS Press book “Prince: Before the Rain,” by Allen Beaulieu. “The man was beautiful to me. He took me on three tours. I got to see the country. I got to see a rock star. I got to develop a rock star,” recounts Beaulieu.
Fans can hear Beaulieu during a panel discussion at the History Center's free program First Tuesdays/First Avenue: Prince Night, Oct. 1, 6-8 p.m. Beaulieu will be joined by The Revolution band member Dez Dickerson and DJ Kevin Cole, with The Current’s Adrea Swensson moderating. Cole will also DJ in the gallery from 6:30-7 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to continue Prince’s story with his next big hit, “Purple Rain,” in the neighboring exhibit, “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom.” The exhibit features the suit he wore in the movie and other artifacts, as well as a section devoted to Prince’s April 2016 passing with memorial letters and items left at First Avenue.
“Prince: Before the Rain” and “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota Mainroom” are on view through May 3, 2020.
Images for the news media are available upon request. An online press kit for “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota Mainroom” is also available.
Exhibit and Program Support
“Prince: Before the Rain” is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Xcel Energy and by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.
“First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom” is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Baird. Media support is provided by The Current and the Star Tribune. Additional support is provided by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.
Location and Hours
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 3 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.
Admission to “Prince: Before the Rain” is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, veterans/active military and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17; free ages 4 and under and MNHS members. Buy tickets online.
About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center houses the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society and is home to the History Center museum with innovative exhibits, Gale Family Library, café and museum store. The History Center is located at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul. For more information, visit www.minnesotahistorycenter.org.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at mnhs.org.