The Alternative Press 25th Anniversary Art Show, which opens today at the Sloan Fine Art gallery on the Lower East Side as one of the many ancillary events in town this week loosely connected to the CMJ Music Marathon, is an amazing exhibit – not just for the art displayed, but for what it represents.
Look, I’m not even going to try to pretend to be unbiased about it. My first work as a writer was at Alternative Press 25 years ago, when I was right out of high school. It was a ‘zine back then that was dropped off at all the cool places around Cleveland and its founder Mike Shea meant it to be a way for the various factions of the area underground to communicate with each other. Alternative Press wasn’t born out of a bunch of marketing meetings or to adopt some sort of hipster pose. It was, as website entrepreneurs like to say these days, organic – built by and for like-minded people who wanted to share information about things that mattered to them.
That it still exists as a magazine today is thrilling. That it has flourished and grown into an international force in the music industry and has so much clout that it can attract work from artists like Shepard Fairey and Derek Hess, as well as pieces from musicians ranging from My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to Marilyn Manson and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong is nothing short of miraculous.
The pieces from those artists are impressive, as are works from Circa Survive’s Anthony Green and Garbage’s Shirley Manson that are on display (and for sale) at the gallery through Saturday. The exhibit also includes some of the magazine’s classic covers, photos from some of its exclusive shoots with Bjork, Nine Inch Nails and Elliott Smith, as well as some famous correspondence documenting the upstart magazine’s growth.
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