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Bob Gruen, rock ’n’ roll photographer, to be honored as Westbeth icon

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Bob Gruen, one of the best-known photographers in rock music, will be honored as a Westbeth Icon this month.

Starting in the 1970s, Gruen documented top stars on the popular music scene, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and Kiss.

One of Gruen’s most iconic shots is of Lennon perched on a Manhattan balcony wearing a T-shirt with “New York City” across its chest. To give it more of a New York edge, Gruen first ripped off the shirt’s sleeves, turning it into a cool-looking tank top.

The local lensman also covered emerging New Wave and Punk bands, including the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and Blondie.

Putting Gruen’s Boy Scout training to good use, the Clash had him play a bugle onstage at the start of one of their shows.

Sponsored by the Westbeth Artists Residents Council, the event will be held Wed., Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., in the Westbeth Community Room, at 155 Bank St., between West and Washington Streets.

The Westbeth Icons project was designed by WARC to honor Westbeth artist residents who continue to work in the arts and are an inspiration to others.

Westbeth Artists Housing, which occupies a full square block in the West Village, is the world’s largest affordable residential complex for artists.

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