Get ready to rock, UofL.
The University of Louisville Photographic Archives just opened its newest exhibition “Live from A Dark Room: Louisville Underground Music in Photographs, 1980 – Present.”
The exhibition features photography from more than 15 artists who have collectively documented Louisville’s music scene for nearly 40 years.
More than 300 photos reveal the tone and tenor of the various bands, people and venues that have defined rock, indie, punk and hardcore music throughout the city. Many of the photos were taken by, or feature, Louisville’s rock royalty, such as Will Oldham and members of the 90s band Slint, whose music still inspires a cult following.
Elizabeth Reilly, curator of Photographic Archives, and Marcy Werner, imaging manager and curatorial assistant, tag-teamed the show.
Reilly spoke with Insider Louisville recently about collecting the images for the show.
“For this particular exhibition, I invited photographers to show their work,” she said.
Photographers include Alex Ayers, Heather Cantrell, Bill Carner, Aron Conaway, Guy Dove, Tim Furnish, Ross Gordon, Laura Arrot Hartford, Chris Higdon, Sarah Lyon, Jennifer Martin, Doug Maxson, Will Oldham, Lonnie Tuner and others.
Artifacts from the Louisville Underground Music Archive accompany the exhibition, such as band items, flyers and posters.
LUMA seeks to catalog Louisville’s influential music scene with all sorts of artifacts.
“We started collecting materials in 2013, and were getting stuff, but I wasn’t seeing as many photographs as I had expected,” Reilly told Insider Louisville. “I knew they were out there. I know the hesitation to let go of treasures, so I decided to have an exhibition and invite people I know shot photographs.”
The approach worked and new photos, many of which have never been published or seen by the wider public, can now be seen in the exhibition.
Reilly’s own punk rock past informs her interest and passion for the LUMA project.
“I’ve been listening to the Louisville music since the early ’90s, when I lived in California,” Reilly told Insider Louisville. “I also photographed live bands when I was younger. A lot of it was punk and hard core. So this is something I’ve always been in tune with.”
Reilly added that she hoped that the exhibition would be educational for people, and especially show the deep ties that exist in Louisville’s music scene, which have been so influential to the wider world.
Most exhibitions by Photographic Archives feature between 40 and 60 pieces, but “Live from a Dark Room” has close to 300 images.
“I always pictured this show hanging salon-style, that’s just almost covering the walls,” she told Insider Louisville. “It’s also unique because we’re using all different kinds of frames, different displays and presentations. It’s really going to be visually impactful.”
The exhibition is on display through Dec. 20 in the UofL Photographic Archives gallery in the lower level of Ekstrom Library, 2215 S. Third St.