arts local spotlight

Examining Punk with “WE GOT POWER” at Modified Arts

September 25, 2013

The great history of Modified Arts, the simplicity of the gallery, combined with their new incredible exhibition transport the viewer into the 1980’s hardcore punk scene. This new exhibition is entitled “WE GOT POWER” curated by the incomparable Amy Young who also owns Perihelion Arts. This intriguing photography exhibition is based on the book “We Got Power! – Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California” by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz”. Exploring the fascinating Los Angeles punk world through the eyes or lens of David Markey and Jordan Schwartz, the creators of the fanzine “We Got Power”. With numerous photographs we are given a glimpse inside the electrifying world and its artists, showcasing the burgeoning punk scene during this important period in music history “Punk”.

The 1980’s marked the entrance of the hardcore punk scene, teenagers rebelling against the current political era of Reagan. Focused in Southern California in the early 1980’s the work features bands such as Black Flag, TSOL, Circle Jerks and the Minutemen just to name a few.  The viewer also gets a glimpse of the current state of the local communities with run down buildings, busted up storefronts, graffiti, and crazy fashion. This exhibition is based on the book “We Got Power” which includes intimate stories, first hand accounts of the early punk scene, and many amazing photographs. The photographs are brilliant, gritty, and real, allowing the viewer to get a true sense of the energy and raw power of the punk scene. A great example of this is seen in the black and white photograph by Jordan Schwartz “Frank Navetta, Descendents, Dancing Waters, San Pedro”, which shows the guitarist raw and in the moment playing, a pure and intense scene.

A majority of the photographs were taken with a simple 35mm camera and many unseen until now. Modified Arts is currently exhibiting over 40 incredible black and white and color photographs featuring some major musicians back when they were just starting out. As you explore the photographs you will see many familiar faces such as Mike Watt, Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski, and Kurt Cobain. Many of the photographs are live or candid shots that are simply displayed on the walls with clips like in a dark room. One striking color photograph taken in 1991 by David Markey was “Courtney Love & Kim Gordon” a beautiful candid shot of these two musicians during their tour, a very recognizable image and now infamous nonetheless. Strolling through the gallery the viewer is able to see famous punk bands performing, the crowd entranced in the music and participating in the scene, and the musicians connecting with the audience, incredibly intense and mesmerizing images. A great example of this is seen in the stunning photograph collage entitled “We Got Power Collage #666, unpublished issue”, including an interesting mix of photographs, newspaper clippings, and drawings.

Ms. Young did a brilliant job combining the worlds of music and art with this exhibition.  Make sure to check out the “We Got Power” exhibition that runs until October 12. Modified Arts will be having their closing reception on First Friday, October 4, from 6-10pm with the authors/photographers in attendance! There is also another exhibition “Phoenix Got Power, Too!” which focuses on local music-oriented photos from 80s & 90s” on view at The Trunk Space until October 12. Additional upcoming events related to both exhibitions including: We Got Power! Night of ROCK on Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. $5 for show at The Trunk Space and “My Career as a Jerk”, film by David Markey showing on Saturday, October 5 at 4 p.m. and an $8 – Book signing follows at FilmBar.

We Got Power:
Modified Arts Gallery:
Trunk Space:
Perihelion Arts:

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