‘Days of Punk’ Exhibit Makes US Debut at Daytona | Culture & Leisure

The Southeast Photography Museum warmly welcomed photographer Michael Grecco and his “Days of Punk” exhibition on the evening of August 30.

The collection made its US debut at Daytona Beach, with an appearance and statements by Mr. Grecco at the opening, following its premiere in London and Spain.

The exhibition follows the photographer’s interest and presence in the punk rock scene from the late 70s to the early 90s, featuring photos of several bands and performers in several concert halls. The collection is primarily derived from Mr. Grecco’s 2020 photobook “Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face,” but with several photos presented to the public through the exhibition.

The exhibit is a collaboration of Mr. Grecco, museum director Whitney Broadaway and director of programming Christina Katsolis.

Asked about his relationship with punk rock and the resulting 2020 book and photo exhibition, Mr Grecco said: ‘I was interested, at the time, in what was rock music progressive, but you really didn’t hear much about it on the radio because the radio was kind of locked in with very commercial rock and roll.

He said he “walked into the Rathskeller in Kenmore Square, commonly known as The Rat, and there was a battle of bands there. And I was like, wow, you know, the music got me blown away.

The music was not the only attraction of the stage.

“It was a community of people who were accepting, who were interesting, and I felt like I belonged,” Grecco said.

This idea of ​​community and belonging is extremely evident through the immersive gallery. The photos themselves invite the guest to imagine themselves in the moment, in the crowd, on stage and to feel the raw emotions that run through each image.

Since Mr. Grecco and the museum staff wanted to show the era and the community through an immersive experience, several sound clips are played throughout the space; allowing the observer to feel in the same environment as the one in which he took the photos. Soundbites include guitar riffs, general movement of instruments, people hanging out and people talking.

“I didn’t want you to walk into a sterile museum space or gallery and not get a sense of the crowds, the noise, the guitars, the drums, so we artistically constructed the soundscapes to help to create that,” he said. .

Ms. Broadaway confirmed the creation of the environment. “He didn’t want there to be any recognizable music, he wanted it to sound like the scene,” she said.

There were also several leaflets and posters from the time.

“It’s designed to make you feel like you’re running to the bathroom during the band’s set and everything’s a bit muffled and everything (artist and venue posters) is stuck on the wall,” Ms. Katsolis said.

The flyers and the lack of cell phones in the photographs, as they showcase the crowds and performers between shows, highlight the importance of word of mouth and community during the period and specifically for this scene.

Ms Katsolis said the integration of the posters into the exhibition and “the importance of these flyers for the underground, (since) it was the burgeoning punk movement”.

They are all from Mr. Grecco’s personal collection from that time.

Upon entering the space, a guest is confronted with concert posters advertising bands, such as Human Sexual Response, and a faux brick wall. The brick wall, complete with faux pipes and wires, not only features sharp “graffiti” from museum staff, but also provides space for guests to sign and draw. It replicates the feeling of a concert hall or an area that often hosted punk rock bands and the punk rock community. Each guest is encouraged to write or draw what they feel, contributing to the immersive feeling that the gallery focuses on. Some graffiti includes the title of the exhibition in spray paint, alongside the name of Michael Greccos, and “punk rock saved my soul” or “I love you” from guests, among smaller designs, such than cobwebs or skulls.

The wall quickly became (and continues as long as the exhibit remains open) a vehicle for artistic expression and freedom, much like the punk rock scene. Ms Katsolis said the combination of the soundscapes, the old concert flyers and the brick wall when she mentioned that “it kind of creates a kind of wonderful ebb and flow as you walk through, you know, and that’s great, because it’s just another sensory way. for people to experience it – you want it to broaden your perception of the show as a whole.

The faux brick is a collaboration between gallery staff and those who work for campus facilities as well as Mr. Grecco (who approved the idea). Ms Broadaway said he was “enthusiastic about all of our fun ideas like the faux brick wall…(the exhibit) was really collaborative”.

Since Days of Punk celebrates punk music and culture, this inclusion works well in the exhibit.

Ms Katsolis said: “We wanted to preserve the illusion (of being present in the punk rock scene), we wanted to complement its exposure. Everyone can understand the concept of the brick wall, whether you’ve been to a seedy dive club or not, everyone knows it, they understand what it means.

According to a few guests who attended opening night and were present in the punk rock scene between the 70s and 90s, the staff and Mr. Grecco have done a great job of recreating that environment. Gallery staff said there were several people from all walks of life who could easily reminisce about the period and the scene as they strolled through the gallery.

The brick wall is a small example of the larger scale of gallery staff and Mr. Grecco’s collaboration. Gallery staff were enthusiastic about the photographer’s openness and fluidity in his work, as he is extremely interested in collaborating on a collection that showcases the idea of ​​community and creative endeavour. When discussing the nature of the project and the content itself, staff mentioned how amazing it was to help create this piece, as Ms. Katsolis said, “when we collaborate with the artist , it’s not just a canned show that pops up in a crate and then we take it out and put on the wall.

Similarly, Mr. Grecco said: “What is interesting to me is that each museum has organized the exhibition differently…the first museum to show the work in Europe and the United States can determine which images have been used.

He said some of his favorite images from his book were selected when it opened in the United States, but pointed out that photos he hadn’t originally chosen for the feature were also used.

Ms. Katsolis received several images from her book and archives when the US Open was created.

“Christina really curated this project and she picked out some great photos – she also picked out some unusual photos that we hadn’t even touched up before posting them,” Grecco said.

As a result, some photos in the Southeast Museum of Photography’s Days of Punk exhibit had not previously been seen by the public.

Ms Katsolis discussed the curatorial process, stating that “the full archive contains 600 photos…there are 82 images on display with 110 framed photos, and 82 of them are from her book, and then another 28 or 29 are from archives”. With a combination of photos from the book and archival punk rock photos, plus creative direction from Mr. Grecco, she created a layout for the American debut.

She said, when creating the layout, that she wanted to “break away from simple concert photos, band shots, with behind the scenes – the smaller intimate moments”. These images feature several different artists, such as Joan Jett, the Ramones, David Bowie, Dead Kennedys, Billy Idol, The Clash, and Talking Heads.

The Southeast Photography Museum will also be taking “Days of Punk” on the road.

Ms Broadaway said: “What you see in front of you, the physical photos, the frames, anything that can actually come off the wall and survive, is going to be in the traveling show. So wherever this exhibit goes, it’s going to have a bit of our hands on it. »

The collection will not only include a bit of the Southeast Photography Museum, but Daytona as a whole, as they used local printers and framing companies to create the collection. While other locations may group the images and format the layout as they see fit, the US version of Days of Punk will still have a part of Daytona at its heart.

Days of Punk will be open to the public with free admission until December 17. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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