Error: 3002 Source: GeoIP.asp line 56: File could not be opened. Chrysler Presents Charles Peterson
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Chrysler Presents Charles Peterson
Charles Peterson, Kurt Cobain, Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, B.C., 1991, Gelatin-silver print, Lent by the Artist.
NORFOLK, VA.- The Chrysler Museum of Art is pleased to present the first museum exhibition for photographer Charles Peterson. Touch Me I’m Sick: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs by Charles Peterson will be on view at the Museum through May 1. During the 1980s and early 90s, Peterson found himself at the center of an explosive underground music scene that began in the quiet Northwest city of Seattle—this movement came to be known as the extraordinary phenomenon of “Grunge.” A friend of many of the musicians and individuals involved, Peterson not only became an intimate eyewitness to the birth of this electrifying new era in music, but also contributed to its world-wide influence through his photographs. “Grunge,” a hybrid mix of ‘60s garage rock, heavy metal, and ‘70s punk, revived the original spirit of rock and roll consequently rescuing legions of bored music fans. In the years since the Grunge revolution there has not been an equivalent youth culture movement on this scale and Peterson not only helped to define it, but captured it forever on film. His images document the raw power of live performances by musicians on the eve of fame. Peterson does not rely on the cult of celebrity to tell this compelling tale of angst, anxiety, and acoustics; but rather, his photographs capture the cathartic ritual between musicians and fans played out in small clubs in relative anonymity.

The exhibition will include approximately 50 photographs from this period in Peterson’s career featuring such bands as Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Hole, Black Flag, Fugazi, and Sonic Youth, among others. This exhibition, like his recent Touch Me I’m Sick book (November 2003, powerHouse Books) is designed with the intention of its being exciting and informative to people who have never experienced a rock show—with an enhanced multimedia presentation including music and videos from the era. In anticipation of his first museum exhibition, Peterson says, “I always imagined that someday my photography could reside in a museum—to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, it's not only rock and roll....Touch Me I'm Sick was made for both the fanatic and the uninitiated, with the latter being the more exciting to reach. Good documentary photography can intimate an experience of our world without needing any previous personal knowledge by the viewer. Here are the sights, sounds and smells of American underground rock and roll as I lived it.”

The Chrysler’s Curator of Photography, Brooks Johnson, agrees the photos make an impact and speak for themselves. He says, “With images of this nature, it is rare to find a single photographer whose work defined the visual persona of an entire musical movement from its inception.”

Born in 1964 in Longview, Washington, Peterson received his B.A. in photography from the University of Washington in 1987. At that time he befriended a group of musicians and record promoter Bruce Pavitt. Having just launched a new label, Sub Pop Records, Pavitt felt that Peterson’s raw, egalitarian look was the perfect way to present the bands. The rest is now legendary—Nirvana, Grunge, Seattle, the World.

Charles Peterson’s photographs have graced hundreds of record covers and appeared in publications worldwide including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsweek, People, Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Guitar World, and New Musical Express. He has also published two previous photography books: Screaming Life: A Chronicle of the Seattle Music Scene (HarperCollins) and Pearl Jam: Place/Date (Rizzoli/Vitalogy with Lance Mercer) and his work is a part of the permanent collections of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Experience Music Project in Seattle.

Touch Me I’m Sick: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs by Charles Peterson is sponsored by For Art’s Sake: The Young Affiliates of the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Media sponsorship is provided by Ninevolt magazine and 96X WROX FM.

The Chrysler Museum of Art is located at 245 West Olney Road 23510. General information: Tel: (757) 664-6200; Fax: (757) 664-6201; E-mail:; Website: The Museum is open: Wednesday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. by voluntary contribution; Thursday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.; and it is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and major Holidays.

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