New Westport art exhibit explores punk era of music


New York City was arguably the coronary heart of the punk scene in the 1970s, but Connecticut also has a good foothold in the history of punk rock. 

Lots of community bands and known musicians performed shows here, largely in New Haven’s dwelling venues and clubs like Ron’s Area or in Hartford’s Agora Ballroom (aka Phase West). Centrally found in between New York and Boston on the I-95 corridor, Connecticut was an quick stopover for musicians on tour. the Ramones, Patti Smith and the Poodle Boys ended up some of the quite a few that done listed here.

MoCA Westport’s most recent exhibition, “Punk Is Coming,” on look at by June 5, largely contains artwork relating to New York shows, but there are strong Connecticut ties to its exhibition. Not only is one of the co-curators from Redding, Marian Schwindeman, but she is also one particular of a number of area artists represented in the demonstrate. Moreover her images, the display also capabilities assemblages by New Canaan artist Hans Neleman and artwork by Connecticut-centered painter Richard Butler, who realized fame as frontman for The Psychedelic Furs but is also an achieved visible artist.

Boasting in no way-prior to-observed videos and a dynamic installation of outsized period shots by Roberta Bayley, the exhibit attributes the function of additional than 50 photographers, artists and videographers. These persons were all in the correct area at the right time capturing historic times. The show surveys the punk era from its music to its vogue and messaging, which, in a entire circle minute, is surprisingly appropriate now.

“I obtain an tremendous volume of parallels occurring,” reported exhibition co-curator Liz Leggett, MoCA Westport’s director of exhibitions. “The ideas of disenfranchised youth, questioning the government and discrepancies in prosperity genuinely ring genuine today.”

An exhibition spotlight, shown in a screening area, is a one-hour video clip installation by two videographers who documented the punk scene at 1970s hotspots like CBGB, Mudd Club and Danceteria: Emily Armstrong, who now life in Bridgewater, and New Yorker Pat Ivers.

The two women have been in their 20s then and functioning in what was deemed a “man’s entire world,” but rather of assembly sexism, they uncovered guidance from their fellow punk outsiders. From 1975-80, they borrowed portable video cameras from their day jobs at general public access Manhattan Cable to movie bands at night. Their movie installation runs about an hour extensive in the exhibition and characteristics footage pulled deep from their archives with performances by the Ramones, The Lounge Lizards and when John Belushi (on drums) joined the Dead Boys and Divine on phase for the duration of a benefit display.

“Richard Hell and the Voidoids.” Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong. Video still. 

“Richard Hell and the Voidoids.” Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong. Video clip continue to. 

Courtesy of Emily Armstrong and Pat Ivers

They shot hundreds of several hours of footage and experienced the foresight to hold onto them. “We are artists and archivists and spokespeople for that fantastic scene,” Armstrong said. Ivers knew straight away they had been bearing witness to a thing historic and ephemeral. Later on, they shared considerably of their perform on their neighborhood obtain Tv set display, “GoNightclubbing,” but they dug out a several under no circumstances-seen or scarce gems for this exhibit.

Of the exhibition, Armstrong said, “It’s not just about songs. It was a incredibly type of vivid scene and there have been a good deal of people generating art and I imagine all those curators did a great work of bringing that non-audio artwork into a museum and demonstrating the creativeness of the persons that made the initial punk scene.”


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