This exhibition and event sprung forth from the course Making Room for Youth: American Hardcore Punk, a most recent example of art movements throughout history taught in NYU’s Center for Experimental Humanities

Sensing a commercialization and trivialization of the music they loved, the originators of Hardcore Punk in the United States created a subversive art form that rebelled against and provided a commentary on both the music scene and the culture at large in the early 1980s. Through an improvised network made up of record labels, self-made publications and teenaged event promoters, hardcore punkers built both a community and an unconscious folk art movement whose impact continues to be felt thirty-five years later. This course traced the origins of this underground culture, followed its growth throughout the country and showed the subversive and enduring cultural impact the Hardcore Punk scene has had on America since its inception in the early 1980’s.

Why this course? “Now go start your own band!” – Big Boys. Rather than just a survey of the music and history of Hardcore Punk, this course engaged students in an active manner; inspiring students to participate in expression, communication, dissent(?), or pure creation in an ethos similar to Punkers of the 1980s. Hardcore Punk was about creating networks, collaborating on events, launching labels, and sharing the music. Through three assignments, THE RELEASE, THE EVENT, and THE ARCHIVE, students looked at their world and thought about how they could reach out to people around them, share a message, and build community.

This event is the final result of that investigation and hard work. We invite you to share your impressions of our impressions and to open your ears to the important role that American Hardcore Punk played in shaping the sound of American youth culture and your eyes to the role those punkers played in creating a truly independent and alternative form of cultural expression and activism.