Paul Gorman is…

Run To Me: A quizzical visual exchange between Sam Jackson and Derek Ridgers

Oct 12th, 2017

//Front, Run To Me catalogue, 25 x 20cm, 44pp//

//Unconditional Love, Sam Jackson, 2017//

In the exhibition Run To Me – opening tomorrow at Old Street’s Charlie Smith London – curator Faye Dowling presents a quizzical visual exchange between painter Sam Jackson and photographer Derek Ridgers.

//First part of my essay faced with Tanya, The Batcave, Derek Ridgers 1983//

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The Story Of The Face in British GQ

Oct 6th, 2017

Out today, the November 2017 issue of British GQ includes a 10-page feature on my forthcoming book The Story Of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture.

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A solid testament: David Bowie A Life by Dylan Jones

Oct 3rd, 2017

In contrast to Unmade Up, Edward Bell’s light-touch but nonetheless deeply personal memoir of David Bowie recently reviewed here, Dylan Jones’ A Life is a weighty, text-heavy tome, with hundreds of contributors packed into its unillustrated 560 pages.

And that’s fine; Jones’ choice of the oral history format maintains the pace as his subject transitions from humble ‘Bromley Dave’ into the superstar whose work continues to beguile and bewitch.

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Jim Walrod August 25 1961 – September 23 2017

Sep 30th, 2017

//Jim Walrod, 2012. Photo: Jeremy Liebman//

I said many times to Jim – and have reflected on this over the last few days – that not many people get to pursue their passion every day of their adult lives. Jim did that. He never went to ‘work’. He did not care if he made money doing it, he just wanted to be able to have you understand what he saw and to have your opinion on it.
Kathy Walrod

Jim Walrod, who has died aged 56, occupied a unique position in the world of international design.

A collector, curator, writer and sometime retailer, as well as an interior designer and locator of unusual and one-off furniture and lighting pieces for a diverse selection of celebrity and private clients, the rangy, sandy-haired Walrod cut a singular figure.

Enthusiastic, informed and slyly humorous, Walrod was founder with Jack Feldman and Fred Schneider of the B-52s of New York’s important 90s/00s store Form & Function and described as “the ultimate design raconteur” by hotelier André Balazs.

To Mike D of the Beastie Boys he was “the furniture pimp”, an accolade won in part for having sourced Memphis designs for David Bowie (Jim revealed to me just a few weeks ago that some of these Italian PoMo pieces came via Tommy Roberts, subject of my book Mr Freedom).

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RIP Gary Warnett, streetwear guru and sneaker supremo

Sep 28th, 2017

//Warnett in his element. Photo: Hypebeast, to which he was a regular contributor//

This is a terrible week for those of us interested in the accumulation of knowledge and expertise surrounding design, music and popular culture.

I was settling in to write an obituary for New York design hero Jim Walrod when news came through last night that British sneaker guru Gary Warnett – a similarly irreplaceable figure – had also unexpectedly died.

Warnett was 39; the cause was attributed to complications arising from pneumonia.

The former content editor for label Crooked Tongues, Warnett was a streetwear obsessive who worked with the world’s biggest brands. Still he found the time to pursue a wide array of interests as evinced by his excellent Gwarizm/Still Lameaphobic site.

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For Jim Walrod – ‘Decoration is the danger, function is the idea’: The On 1st experiment in conceptual art retailing

Sep 27th, 2017

** This post is dedicated to the New York design thinker and doer Jim Walrod, who has passed away. Just a couple of weeks ago I mentioned my intention to post about On 1st to Jim over dinner. Of course, he knew about the store but was excited to see what fresh info I might have turned up. I’ll write about Jim when I have collected my thoughts; wherever he is, I am sure Jim will join us all in the necessary proclamation: Fuck Trump**

//At the entrance to 1159 1st Avenue at 63rd was Sven Lukin’s two-tonne illuminated sign. Photo: Bert Stern//

//On 1st interior including displays of Roy Lichtenstein wallpaper and Gerald Laing plates. Photo: Bert Stern//

In conversation this summer, British artist Duggie Fields revealed to me that, during a sojourn in the US in 1968, he had been in line to work at photographer Bert Stern’s “architecturally mind-blowing” art store/publishing house On 1st in Manhattan’s east side.

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Unmade Up… Enlightening vignettes from Edward Bell’s unusual acquaintance with David Bowie

Sep 26th, 2017

//When they met, Bowie was scrutinising this portrait of Sex, Seditionaries and Jubilee superstar Jordan Mooney at Bell’s exhibition Larger Than Life//

“I, too, had to maintain a certain degree of detachment, and indeed to want and expect nothing of him; the paradox will always remain that, if David Bowie had not been David Bowie, then David Bowie and I could have been friends.”

Edward Bell, 2017

Edward Bell first encountered David Bowie when the rock chameleon turned up unexpectedly at a private view for the British visual artist’s first exhibition in 1980.

They last spoke in 2013, a few years before the musician/performer’s untimely demise. In the intervening period Bell and Bowie hung out in London, Venice and Los Angeles, collaborated on record sleeve projects and maintained sometimes sporadic contact, via a Swiss letter drop address and out-of-the-blue phone calls.

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‘Suburban voodoo is what he did do, so well’: Last two days of Barney Bubbles exhibition at Rob Tufnell London

Sep 22nd, 2017

//Back Cover, Jesus Of Cool, Nick Lowe, Radar Records, 1978. Photo: Bob Bromide. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Back cover, Darling Let’s Have Another Baby/Something Else/It Really Digs, Johnny Moped, Chiswick Records, 1978. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Clock, Stiff Records, 1978. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Front, Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy, Billy Bragg, Utility, 1983. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

“In graphics, in the music business at least, Barney pioneered the use of everyday objects in his work. He could see the design and the beauty in the apparently banal”
Suzanne Spiro, artist

The Barney Bubbles exhibition Optics & Semantics at London gallery Rob Tufnell closes tomorrow evening; if you have a chance, do go along and enjoy the late graphic arts maestro’s unique celebrations of the mundane and workaday.

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“Forbidden connotations”: The source of Malcolm McLaren’s Naked Footballer design identified

Sep 20th, 2017

//John Rotten performing with the Sex Pistols at Andrew Logan’s Valentine’s Ball, February 1976 in a hybrid Sex t-shirt combining the images from the ‘Tits’ and ‘Naked Footballer’ designs. Note Jordan Mooney (far left), Luciana Martinez (third right), Derek Jarman (with camera) and Vivienne Westwood (far right). Photo: Joe Stevens. No reproduction without permission//

Last summer I spent a pleasant afternoon in the company of American academic Benjamin Court, who has been researching a dissertation entitled The Politics of Musical Amateurism, 1968-1981.

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Here We Are: Britishness considered at this crucial juncture in our history

Sep 18th, 2017

//Janette Beckman’s 1980 image of Jerry Dammers of The Specials is included with documentary and portrait photography by the likes of Jane Bown, Bill Brandt,  Ian Macdonald, Colin O’Brien, Martin Parr and Jo Spence//

Curated by Christopher Bailey, creative director of sponsoring fashion brand Burberry, with Lucy Kumara Moore of bookshop Claire de Rouen and fashion/documentary photographer Alasdair McLellan, the exhibition Here We Are considers Britishness at this crucial juncture in our economic, political and social history.

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