The industrial and punk scenes of San Francisco in the late 1970s and early 1980s were diverse but united by a DIY, anti-authoritarian attitude. Photographer Ruby Ray was there to capture it all in the same spirit.
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Spanning music, art and literature, the industrial and punk scenes of San Francisco in the late 1970s and early 1980s were diverse but united by a DIY, anti-authoritarian attitude. Photographer Ruby Ray was there to capture it all in the same spirit. With her work appearing in the legendary punk zine Search & Destroy and its successor RE/Search, Ray was at the epicenter of, and a key participant in, a vital cultural moment vibrant with provocation and creativity. A local experimental music and art scene supported artists like Bruce Conner and William S. Burroughs, and attracted groundbreaking bands like Devo, the Mutants, Boyd Rice and the Dead Kennedys, as well as established international bands like Throbbing Gristle, the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Ruby Ray: Kalifornia Kool collects the photographer’s images from this time: live shots, backstage parties, apartments overflowing with youthful exuberance, elegant portraits of key people and photographic experiments. Her work captures a time and a place where West Coast open-mindedness, youth, art, music and electricity merged.
“Late 70s, early 80s... Ruby Ray and her camera, capturing the movers and shakers of the San Francisco punk and industrial scenes... And then some... Performance art, music, literature, photos, videos made with a “fuck you” and “do it yourself” attitude. Ruby sees and Ruby captures... Knowns and unknowns, winners and losers, sane and insane, constructive and destructive... William Burroughs with his gun, Bruce Conner being fueled by punk energy, Sex Pistols’ last ever gig in San Fran, Throbbing Gristle, The Cramps live at Napa Mental Hospital, Search and Destroy Magazine, and bands and gigs galore... Devo, Mutants, Slits, Bags, Dead Kennedys, Cabaret Voltaire, Roky Erickson, Nico, DOA, Chrome, Factrix, Boyd Rice, Z’EV, Flipper... You name’em and there was Ruby Ray: the spectacularly talented lens of Kalifornia Kool. We should be grateful for her work. It’s invaluable, evocative, loud, sexy and more inspiring now than ever before... Ruby’s images open up a portal to a mythic and frenzied scene and show that it’s true: all mythologies are real... Turn up the volume and dive into this one.” – Carl Abrahamsson, from the Introduction
Published 2019. 216 pages, size 240 x 240 mm. Hardcover with dust jacket. Introductions by V. Vale and Carl Abrahamsson.