Girls to the Front

OPEN: NOW THROUGH MARCH 9
LOCATION: 5TH FLOOR BELKIN GALLERY

Making a place for women in photography 

Girls to the Front: Photography by Anastasia Pantsios is an exhibit that proves rock and roll is much more than a man’s world.

While a great photograph of Madonna or Tina Turner can make that statement by itself, when that photo is viewed alongside forty-two other women musicians, the message is all the more powerful.

Pantsios’ work shows this power that women have on stage beginning in 1969 with her shot of Grace Slick. The exhibit traces women in rock through 2006, and it features an amazing range of artists. Many of the artists are recognizable, staples of classic rock and Top 40 radio, but Pantsios also photographed lesser known artists whose influence should not be forgotten. An example is Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics, who was a “riveting performer known for over-the-top antics” and crossed over from punk into heavy metal during the 1980s.

Another focal point to the exhibit is that some of these women are members of bands rather than solo artists. As Pantsios says, women in bands were often relegated to one of two roles, that of the “hot chick singer” or were hidden behind a keyboard. For example, Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads was a key part of that band’s sound, and the photograph by Pantsios allows her to shine here on her own. In sum, Pantsios’ photographs tell the story of women in rock as well as highlighting the individuals that matter most.

About pantsios

When Anastasia Pantsios photographed her first concert - Jefferson Airplane in Chicago's Grant Park in 1969 - women were a rarity in rock bands. At that time, women were elbowing their way into rock photography, led by Rolling Stone's Annie Lebovitz. In Cleveland, Pantsios was one of the three women who formed Kaleyediscope Photography in 1978 to market their photos. As female rockers gained prominence, Pantsios developed an interest in the diverse ways they presented themselves visually while performing. Girls to the Front explores her 40 years of shooting rock's talented women as they appeared on stages throughout Northeast Ohio.