‘Rock Gods’ show at Tyler Center


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A rock ’n’ roll photo and art exhibit at a history museum?

Well, it is “classic” rock.

“Rock Gods: The Art of Rock ’n’ Roll Photography” opens with a reception Friday evening at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center and runs through Aug. 30.

It includes more than 100 photographs – and colorized photos – of some of the world’s greatest rock stars, shot during performances in Ohio.

The works are by Janet Macoska, the great Cleveland-based rock photographer; Tony Nicholas, a Youngstown-based rock photographer and instructor; and Chris Yambar, the Youngstown-based pop artist and comic-book creator who had lent his touch to many of Macoska’s photos, turning them into stylized and wildly colorful paintings.

“Rock Gods” will be hung in the main room of the Tyler Center, 325 W. Federal St., downtown, and is one of the first major exhibits at the new museum, which is operated by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Drawing attention to the Tyler, in fact, is one goal of the exhibit.

“We wanted to do a top-flight gallery show,” said Yambar. “The Tyler is a gem, and the public needs to walk through it. “The MVHS are hip people, and they are open to progressive history displays,” Yambar continued. “This exhibit speaks to this generation. It is classic rock. It is history. And it all happened in this area.”

The presence of Macoska’s work increases the gravitas of the exhibit, according to Yambar. “Her work is so essential,” he said. “She represents more than 40 years of rock history.” Macoska’s photos have appeared in Rolling Stone, People, Vogue and The New York Times, and has been exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Macoska’s photo subjects in the exhibit include Paul McCartney, KISS, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie and many more. The photographer also has a biography due out soon.

Nicholas represents a new breed of rock photographer, which emphasizes club performances. “He is right in the moment,” said Yambar. “He captures the moment, the energy and the movement.”

All of the pieces in the “Rock Gods” exhibit are for sale and priced from $30 to $2,500, with most in the $150 range.

During the run of the exhibit, all three artists/photographers will give gallery talks, with the first at 1 p.m. Saturday with Yambar.

Friday’s opening reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes a limited-edition print and a drink voucher, as well as performances by the band The Pickups and belly dance troupe Tribe of EOS.

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