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‘Days of Punk’ exhibit showcases images of The Clash, Dead Kennedys and more

When Michael Grecco walked into punk clubs in Boston and New York in the ’70s he felt right at home amidst the raw energy and intensity of the music. He loved it so much that he became a self described “club kid” and a regular in the local punk scene.

But he was also a photographer, so he pointed his lens at the scene he saw emerging. He captured candid images of future icons like Billy Idol, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Talking Heads, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics and others.

Many of those pictures are now staples in Grecco’s traveling “Days of Punk” exhibition, which is making its West Coast debut at the MOAH:CEDAR Art Gallery at the Cedar Center for the Arts in Lancaster Feb. 4-March 19.

“I want to show people a time and a culture that had historic significance, and I want people to be inspired by the work,” said the 64-year-old-photographer during a phone interview from his Santa Monica home.

About 100 photographs, dating back to the late ‘70s through the early ‘90s, are featured in the exhibition, which started in 2021 in London. The pictures were originally part of Grecco’s 2020 book “Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage Backstage, In Your Face, 1978-1991.”

In addition to the photographs, the exhibition also includes ambient music created exclusively for “Days of Punk” by Roger Miller and Peter Prescott of the band Mission of Burma, and a video component that includes archival footage shot by Grecco during that punk rock era.

“We’re trying to put the patron who comes to see the show into that environment and to get a feel for the craziness and the music,” Grecco said.

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