Edward Colver - Sonos Photo Exhibit (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Edward Colver

Sonos Photo Exhibit (2017)

Live show

Edward Colver dared to go where many wouldn’t. His photos defined moments in early punk rock culture that go beyond its core base. It wouldn’t be surprising to find his iconic imagery on a shirt at Urban Outfitters at this point. Which is why, I guess, it shouldn’t have been surprising he had teamed up with Sonos for his first NYC exhibit. But it still was. Sonos, the Santa Barbara based electronic company, sponsored the show, one located in Brooklyn’s Rough Trade and the other in the heart of SoHo at the Sonos Listening Room.

The exhibit’s opening night found Colver’s work displayed in the upper room at Rough Trade. It was a kick off party so this event was also sponsored by Bulleit Whiskey, which offered free taste tests. The room in Rough Trade was small but had hosted similar events before. Seeing how much presence Colver had in the early days of Los Angeles punk rock meant many already own a Colver art collection. Seeing Damaged next to How Could Hell Be Any Worse? next to Group Sex made it abundantly clear I was a fan of his work. But the other photography, the black and white photos where Colver was clearly in the heart of an intense, sweaty scene, were the reason to be there. There was Rollins and MacKaye and Ness, up close and personal. Yet there was something strange about being asked if I was familiar with Sonos while looking at these photos. (I was.) There was also something odd about a record player, not in use, with many albums that Colver had no part in. It was a partnership but one can’t help wish Colver had the room to himself to submerge the viewer in exclusively punk iconography.

The drinks were followed by local band Pawns who really fit the vibe of the night. They played inside the actual record store instead of the stage where musical acts typically perform. (Rough Trade had another show starting right after the opening.) They had a very Damned meets Black Flag vibe about them. Props to the singer for committing to the genre and the bassist for really showing off her expertise in bass and death stare technique. It was an unusual and engaging performance.

The following day I checked out Colver’s photos in the Sonos Listening Room. That one was a little harder to swallow, while clearly marketed correctly. Upon entering, I was once again asked if I was familiar with Sonos. (I still was.) The store had a blow up Damaged photo in black and white right up front. The wall with his work on it, though, was dedicated to artists SoHo shoppers might be more inclined to recognize. And the list was impressive: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, even Ice Cube. My personal favorite caught a young Tom Waits. The vibe was noticeably different even though it was clear many there that day were aware of the exhibit. Walking out of a store situated between high-end designers just felt a bit unusual.

In the end, Edward Colver’s NYC showcase was proof the man had an eye for capturing the aggression of the time and that his work impressed many larger than life superstars.

Edward Colver’s photos are on display until October 19th.