Jamie Reid, This Store Welcomes Shoplifters, 1972
Last Sunday, along with half of London, their girlfriend and their grand-dad, i went to the Hayward Gallery’s project space (that’s the one you can enter for free!) to check out ‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984.
Punk is now part of the mainstream and we probably think we are familiar with the movement. A couple of years ago, the Ramones started selling more t-shirts at H&M than they’ve ever sold disks, Raymond Pettibon has a few pieces at Frieze this week, Jamie Reid collaborated with Shephard Fairey, you might pick up the butter that Johnny Lydon recommends and i’m an avid collector of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa.
But this is now and this is only superficial. Punk, i discovered at the show, has an aesthetics and an ethos that go far beyond the vociferous music and the safety-pinned ear lobes. Punk was about being young, being bold and doing things by yourself.
“If you don’t like the culture you are spoon-fed, you can make your own. It worked wonders at the end of the seventies, and all these jagged, chiaroscuro urgent masterpieces of graphic design, executed by art school masters alongside anguished adolescents continue to reverberate as get-up-and-get-on-with-it eyeball-pleasers.” -Johan Kugelberg, co-curator of the exhibition.
The result is at the Hayward show: homemade cassettes, hand drawn fanzines, photocopied posters, 45 covers and yellowed clothing. There’s also far more humour on the walls than you might expect, even if you’re not the sniffing glue kind.
Crass poster, 1978
Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers flyer, New York, 1967
Darby Crash of The Germs, Slash magazine cover, 1978
Diggers/Communication Company Mimeographed Handout, 1967
Diggers/Communication Company Mimeographed Handout, 1967©
Japanese punk fanzine, Insane Whorehouse, 1979
Gaye Advert and Joan Jett, 1977
Sniffin’ Glue issues, 1976
The curators of the show are Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage. Kugelberg is the author of The Velvet Underground: New York Art, and the gallery owner of Boo-Hooray in New York. Savage is a journalist and the author of England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock and Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture, among many other books.
Disco Zombies, Drums Over London
Allow me to leave you with a few words of wisdom:
‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984 remains open through November 4 at the Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, UK. Admission is Free.