Tonight Houstonians can see, for free, two exhibits that couldn’t be more different, yet that both testify to how crucial photography and visual art can be to music. Luckily, they’re close by.
At Sound Exchange (1846 Richmond), the “Gulf Coast Underground Art” show combines Daniel “Sawblade” Shaw’s phantasmagoric drawings, which should be familiar to Insect Warfare fans, as he did the jaw-dropping cover to the Houston grindcore warriors last album, World Extermination, with Rosa Guerrero's you-are-there photography. See how long it takes his poster for tonight’s show to sear itself on the inside of your eyelids.
Guerrero, meanwhile, is a longtime documentarian of the local music scene, especially the punk and hardcore divisions (she also co-hosts KTRU’s Mutant Hardcore Flower Hour Thursday nights); a photo-zine of her work, Ditchwater, is available at Domy Books. As you can see from this photo from a Humanicide show at Southmore House (R.I.P.), Guerrero’s crowd shots are as vivid and striking as her band images; the stark black and white reminds me of former Sub Pop house photog Charles Peterson’s work displayed in the 1996 Seattle-scene documentary Hype! and this year’s Touch Me, I’m Sick book.
The Gulf Coast Underground Art show is tonight only, but there’s plenty of time to take in the other. At
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Record Ranch annex (2110 Portsmouth), as part of the revived record store’s official grand-opening weekend, Houston photographer Steve Harris will unveil his “Texas Troubadors” collection tonight at a 7 p.m. reception.
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The former house photographer at legendary Washington Avenue venue Rockefeller’s, Harris has assembled 57 portraits of Lone Star musicians from Kris Kristofferson to Steve Earle and Patrice Pike. Many of the pieces also appear in Harris’ 2007 book of the same name published by the University of Texas Press. Supposedly a number of local galleries turned Harris down because his pictures weren’t “edgy” enough. Their loss.
“Texas Troubadors” runs through April. – Chris Gray