Last night the Steven Kasher Gallery kicked off its two-part punk rock exhibit in the company of both greying former CBGB regulars and young punk fans. The first part of the exhibit, Laura Levine’s “Musicians,” features rare and New York-centric photos of artists like the Clash, Joan Jett and Boy George. Levine’s photos have a stark and candid quality about them, with the subject perched on a rooftop in New York City or band members group around a street corner.
Most of the gallery is occupied by the second part of the exhibit, a collection of memorabilia from the punk rock era titled Rude And Reckless: Punk/Post-Punk Graphics 1976-82. Mostly that means the gallery mounted an extensive collection of handbills, flyers and posters for concerts by a number of artists from the Ramones and the Cure to New Order and Pork Dukes. There are also display cases filled with Buzzcock buttons that were presumably once pinned to a cutoff denim vest, heart-shaped cutouts for Blondie, and various punk-related nicknacks. Marveling at an original flag for the Clash or a janky fanzine made for the Sex Pistols feels a little weird, especially when ex-members of the scene on display are milling about with the last glasses of free wine reminiscing about the last time they saw the X-Ray Spex in concert.
While the biggest names from the era (Patti Smith, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, etc) have a large presence at Steven Kasher’s, the gallery did not fail to unearth flyers and memorabilia from lesser-known bands like Generation X, Alternative TV, and XTC. Judging by the “MORE TO COME” signs mounted on empty display shelves, the gallery hasn’t finished collecting obscure and famous artifacts for curious or nostalgic visitors. The exhibit runs until August 19 at 521 West 23 Street.