Ripped: Expressions from the Underground

By LA CANVAS
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Concert tees are more than just cotton shirts with printed graphics portraying “no f**ks given” attitude. They are an example of the early DIY movement and, according to Lydia Lunch, a staple figure in the No-Wave movement.  “They Remind us of a time, not so long ago, when what you actually said and did–the music and art you actually made yourself–and a spirit of real rebellion were far more important than the number of idiots you could connive into coming to the show.” The Ripped: Expressions from the Underground Exhibition is an exceptional showcase of punk rock memorabilia, curated by Cesar Padilla, a writer, punk rock enthusiast, collector and self-proclaimed troublemaker. Lucky for us, Cesar’s obsession with attending concerts also meant he culminated a huge collection of tees from concerts and a wealth of stories behind them.

The meticulous assortment was collected personally by Cesar, whose relationships with the music industry included the musicians themselves, to managers, and even groupies. The collection truly encompasses the pre-internet era of promoting a movement and the communication between show-kid and musician. Every tee we encountered had a story, leaving the writer in disbelief many times. Wandering around the exhibit, we happened upon a simple tee for the band Green River. Its story: Cesar invited Green River to crash at his home after a show, after finding out that they were broke and touring on a budget. This little-known band would eventually become the now-famous rockers, Pearl Jam.

 

 

This rare collection of memorabilia also included a personal tee from Nancy Spungen, who was notorious for her tumultuous relationship with Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Another tee that perked up our interest belonged to Cynthia “Plaster Caster,” the world’s most famous groupie, who from the late 1960s to early 1970s was known for taking plaster casts of various musicians’ genitalia. The exhibit also had a section displaying the history of punk and post-punk, educating viewers on the genre’s influence on today’s enormously popular genres, like Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

 


Whether or not you’re into punk, the Ripped exhibit is well worth checking out for any die-hard music fan. The exhibit’s showcase of memorabilia and history is remarkable and nostalgic. For those of you who admit to having band pins on their school backpack, owning a pair of Doc Martens and having a questionable haircut at a certain time in your life, this is definitely the exhibit for you.

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Ripped is housed at the FIDM Museum located at 919 South Grand Avenue, Suite 250, Los Angeles, CA and will be open through to December 22, 2012, 10am–5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

{ photos by ASHLEY TUTTLE }

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