Los Angeles-based fine art photographers – and spouses – Michael Grecco and Elizabeth Waterman will have side-by-side solo shows at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles in West Hollywood. Grecco’s multimedia exhibition “Days of Punk” celebrates punk music and culture with photographs he shot of the punk music scenes in Boston and New York City from 1978-1991 – the Leica show marks its debut showing in Los Angeles. Curated by Leica Gallery Los Angeles Director Paris Chong, the shows – each spotlighting its own specific subculture – open with an artists’ reception on Thursday, September 14, 6-8PM. They run through November 5.
Born in the Bronx and now based in Los Angeles, Grecco started his professional photography career in Boston in the late ‘70s after graduating from Boston University’s College of Communication. He was working as a photojournalist for the Associated Press and staff photographer for the Boston Herald by day. At night, he covered the music scene for publications including Boston Rock magazine, and regularly for WBCN-FM – it was when punk music was exploding in popularity in the U.S., and Boston was an important hub for the punk scene. A self-described “club kid,” Grecco had a rare opportunity to embed himself into the scene as both an official chronicler and genuine participant, and captured for posterity a riotously outspoken time in pop culture history, with all its raw energy and outrageous antics. Grecco moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s when he was invited by People Magazine to come west to be a celebrity photographer for them. He has continued to create new work ever since, and his images have also appeared in publications including Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone, among others.
The negatives from Grecco’s years of punk shoots had sat dormant in file cabinets for decades until his archivist suggested revisiting this previously unseen body of work five years ago. Their efforts lead to Michael’s most recent book, the best-selling Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978–1991 (Abrams Books, 2020), which introduced these images to the public for the first time. The book also includes Grecco’s personal anecdotes from those years.
The photographs featured in the exhibition – of artists including The Clash, Billy Idol, The Cramps, Wendy O. Williams (Plasmatics), The B-52s, Devo and more – date back to the late ‘70s through the early ‘90s, shot primarily in the Boston area, with some images captured in New York City. Included are performance shots, backstage moments, portraits, and more.
Days of Punk
“When I came of age in the late 70’s and early 80’s, it was in the middle of an artistic rebellion that changed the face of politics and culture forever. This was the era of Punk; bold, self-expressed, and free. An era of music, attitude and fashion that spat in the face of the established norms. I had grown up in an old-world Italian household in suburban New York. I was told how to be, how not to be. I felt stifled. Walking into my first Punk club in Boston, I found I suddenly joined a club where everybody belonged. I could finally be myself, or at least find out who I really was, and I dove headfirst into a journey of social and artistic freedom. The spirit of Punk was extraordinary. It marked me forever. As you look at these images, I hope you also get touched by its infectious freedom.” – Michael Grecco
Michael Grecco : Days of Punk
September 14 – November 5, 2023
Leica Gallery Los Angeles
8783 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048