Newly Acquired Glen E. Friedman Photographs Capture the Searing Energy of the Nascent Hardcore and Skateboarding Scenes

Dena Beard


The photographs of Glen E. Friedman encapsulate the blistering tension and improvisation of the late 1970s and early 1980s California underground scene. Arising from very specific circumstances—drought, financial crisis, the invention of synthetic skateboard wheels—early Dogtown skateboarder Tony Alva, punk impresario Jello Biafra, and photographer Friedman were conduits for a zeitgeist of do-it-yourself rebellions. Their raw aesthetic, now ubiquitous in mainstream culture, was then novel, a decisive assault on the conservative riptide that they found in everything from organized sports to New Wave music. Friedman approached the scene with the ethos of an embedded war photographer channeling the smoldering humanism of John Cassavetes. The images both document and embody the gritty, sneering vitality of a subcultural renaissance.

BAM/PFA is pleased to announce that we have recently acquired six Glen E. Friedman photographs through the generosity of The Buddy Taub Foundation, including the 1977 Tony Alva and at the Original Dogbowl and Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys, L.A., July 1982. Since 2007, The Buddy Taub Foundation has enabled BAM/PFA to purchase exemplary works by Lothar Baumgarten, Sarah Charlesworth, Dan Flavin, Avery Preesman, Paul Sharits, Miller Updegraff, Ned Vena, and Lawrence Weiner.

Above: Glen E. Friedman: Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys, LA, July 1982, 1982; black and white photograph; 30 x 40 in.; purchase made possible through a gift of The Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach and Jill Roach, Directors.