Punk wasn’t all loud guitars, mohawks and pronouncing the word ‘vacant’ in a way that made it sound rude. Oh no. It was about individualism, doing-it-yourself and expressing your ideas as boldy and as loudly as possible. Everyone’s familiar with punk music, but punk art – the posters, record covers and homemade ‘zines integral to the scene – often slips under the radar. But this is all about to change, thanks to a new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery’s project space.
‘Some day all the adults will die! Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984’, opening on Friday September 14, showcases the very best in punk graphic design including homemade cassettes, ‘zines, posters, flyers, records and clothing from the punk and post-punk era. Artists include provocative collage-maker Gee Vaucher, Linder Sterling (if you’ve seen the controversial cover for the Buzzcocks single ‘Orgasm Addict’, you’ll be familiar with her work) and Jamie Reid – who cut up newspaper headlines to create infamous record designs for the Sex Pistols. Also featured are works by countless other anonymous artists to create a huge collection of punk graphic design – including several things never seen before by the public.
On Wednesday September 13, curators Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage will be joined at Queen Elizabeth Hall by artists Gee Vaucher and Linder Sterling, cartoonist John Holstrom, ‘zine editor Tony Drayton and cyberpunk writer William Gibson to discuss the incendiary effects of punk art. Johan and Jon have also written ‘Punk: An Aesthetic’, published by Rizzoli, to coincide with the exhibition. They will also host another panel and sign copies at Rough Trade East on Thursday September 20.
The Pistols may be re-releasing ‘Never mind the Bollocks’ for the 35th time and the Queen hasn’t budged from her throne but, as this exhibition shows, punk’s (still) not dead. Not by a long shot. Pete Ellender
For info, see southbankcentre.co.uk.