Ongoing through September 30, 2015
Chicago's GMAN Tavern 8/29-9/30
3740 N. Clark St. - next door to the Metro
Front of House:
STEVEN KORESS and Chicago Punk's
Front of House is an exhibition of photographs from Steven Koress' extensive archive. This is the first time these images have been exhibited. Featured in this selection are live shots of Sonic Youth, Naked Raygun, Black Flag, The Ramones, and many more. Individual and group portraits taken in the photographer's studio or on location including Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Red Hot Chili Peppers, DH Peligro, Martin Atkins, Nick Cave and others. This exhibition represents an introduction into the artist's passion for the music industry during the adolescent years of the Chicago Punk scene.
Each image has a storied past attached to it for the photographer, the band, and the audience who all were witness to these rarely captured performances. This exhibit offers a glimpse of Koress’ buried and seemingly endless collection of negatives which narrate over a decade of one of Chicago’s most important live music scenes. Whether it be a one-off Naked Raygun show with The Ramones and Dead Kennedys, or Koress using a cage light to guide Suicidal Tendencies into the sub-basement of The Green Mill to take their portrait in Al Capone’s secret tunnel – these pictures tell stories before untold. There was the time he told The Replacements to "act like a bird; do a Mick Jagger thing," and Paul Westerberg with the others unabashedly complied. There was a two day long private shoot with Jello Biafra where no compelling pose went untried. They ended up at Al Jourgensen's house on Ashland at 3am.
Koress became a silent extra member of the band while on stage or an omnipresent friend behind the scenes earning the trust of the musicians. He was more than just the house photographer at the Metro, Riviera Theatre, and International Amphitheatre, he was a link that tied acts - local, national, and international - all together. He was all over Chicago. Koress worked for the promoters, partied with the roadies, and made friends with security. Joe Shanahan (Newcity Music 45 Chicago 2015) gave him his start at the Smart Bar and from there Steven earned trust from the Metro and musicians giving him free reign to photograph anything behind the scenes resulting in a unique perspective in terms of the photograph itself. This is perhaps most notably executed in the aerial shot of Naked Raygun for which Koress expertly balanced on the catwalk at The Palace.
Steve Koress' passion of the music industry began when dealing vinyl at age 17 working for Hear Hear Records and later Sound Unlimited. Two degrees from the American Academy of Art (Illustration) and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute gave Koress a refined approach to capture the rawness of the scene in which he became deeply entrenched. His photographs have largely been kept tucked away for the past 20 years but a rare few have appeared on the jackets of Sonic Youth and Naked Raygun albums. Just recently his images have appeared in the Foo Fighter's documentary Sonic Highways. But here and now Front of Houseoffers music and art fans a first chance to really see what lies beneath.
Follow him on Twitter @StevenKoress