Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts


Art and Visual Studies

First Advisor

Anna Brzyski


Rock’n’roll has specific aesthetic — a set of invisible rules that each young rock musician accepts as a given. If one examines the history of rock’n’roll starting from 1950s, one will notice that there was a clear division in rock that separates the rock’n’roll of 1950s from rock of the second half of the 1960s and beyond—the rock that we know today. This thesis investigates how the visual aesthetic of rock’n’roll evolved from its origins in the 1950s blues tradition, how it was formed in the second half of the 1960s, and how it was modified in the first half of the 1970s. In particular, it focuses on the role played by the British band Rolling Stones as mediators between the 1950s early rock aesthetics rooted in the blues tradition and the Beats’ ideology and the subsequent generations of American rockers who emerged in the 1970s, such as the band New York Dolls. The final section of the thesis investigates how the New York Dolls adopted and transmitted the aesthetics of authenticity pioneered by the Stones to the new wave of punk and grunge bands. Although the thesis considers the music produced within this milieu, its primary focus is on the visual presentation and promotion of the new aesthetic through stage performances, publicity and the medium of television.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)