Campus Life

New art exhibit highlights local punk scene

Written for The Argo by Jovan Chang

The upper level of the Stockton Art Gallery currently features a punk rock art exhibit to display a new meaning to art.

Named “Shortest, Fastest, Loudest,” the exhibit is curated by Ryann Casey, a Stockton alum and art gallery exhibition coordinator, and Justin Gray, Stockton’s visual arts supervisor. The show is meant to highlight the punk rock scene and the art that often accompanies it in the region. 

Stockton’s new “Shortest, Fastest, Loudest” punk exhibit. Photo courtesy of Ryann Casey.

“I wanted to create a show about punk in South Jersey and Philadelphia,” Casey said. “I have a complicated relationship with punk, but this is a love letter to my experiences.” 

Upon entering the space, the first thing that catches the eye will likely be the flurries of flyers on the back wall of the gallery. The wall features an assorted mix of over a thousand punk rock show flyers from all over, some of which come directly from shows that happened on Stockton’s campus. 

“Stockton has a really rich history of putting on punk shows. We used to put them on all the time in the Lakeside Center,” Casey said. “There’s about 12 [flyers] on there from shows that happened on Stockton’s campus.”

In addition to the flyer wall, there is a vast array of art in all mediums that can be viewed in the gallery. The show features posters, buttons, banners, and even suitcases. “In terms of aesthetics, I was looking for variety and diversity. I wanted to show a world that was inclusive of all different approaches to the subject,” Casey said. 

According to Casey, all of the artists featured in the exhibition have a connection to the South Jersey and Philadelphia area. A majority of them currently reside and work in the community. “It’s really artists in this region. Everybody that you’re looking at is actively working on things now, in this area,” Casey said. 

Undoubtedly a struggle of the show was capturing all aspects of the punk rock world. Nevertheless, the exhibit still manages to capture the crazy characters, rebellious rhythm, and abstract art that the scene is well known for.

Punk art on display. Photo courtesy of Ryann Casey.

“For me, it was about trying to get, what I think, epitomizes punk in terms of art. From very direct ways, like flyers from shows, but also show work that was influenced and inspired by punk,” Casey said.

While most shows may take up to a year and a half to create, the duel curators were able to create “Shortest, Fastest, Loudest” in around four months. 

“Between October and January was when we built the show. But most things didn’t come in until January, so it was a haul,” Casey said. “Having Justin really helped.” 

“Punk is a subculture of society steeped in its own language and myth, an entire subset of society encased in the language of anti-authoritarianism and a tradition of being righteously rebellious,” Gray wrote in the “Shortest, Fastest, Loudest” program guide.

“Shoretest, Fastest, Loudest” opened on Feb 1 and will continue to run through April 6. It is located in L-wing and is open to the public. 

“I hope the gallery continues to become a place where everyone can feel [they belong]. This is a community space, I want it to feel like a place that can be utilized by everyone, no matter what your major or background,” Casey said.