I am collaborating with Herb Lester Associates on a new map – Punk London: In The City 1975-78 will be published in the New Year as a celebration of the movement which swept the capital 40 years ago and resonates today as an attitude throughout the world.
Support the publication of important new book Different Class: Fashion, Football & Funk – The Story of Laurie Cunningham
I’m not a football fan; I loved playing when I was in my 20s and 30s and as a kid followed Liverpool FC avidly but my interests have long lain elsewhere.
But there is one football book that deserves publication in my view: Dermot Kavanagh’s Different Class, which explores the life and cultural significance of Laurie Cunningham, one of England’s first professional black soccer players.
On Sunday night the performance art biennial Performa 15 culminated with a celebration of the 40th anniversary of punk.
As part of the event at New York’s Hôtel Americano, the Malcolm McLaren Award – designed by Marc Newson with $10,000 prize money – was presented to Edgar Arceneaux by Young Kim of the McLaren Estate and writer/musician Richard Hell.
Arceneaux won for his experimental play, “Until, Until, Until . . .,” inspired by the controversial appearance by African-American actor Ben Vereen in black-face at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inaugural celebration.
Last night I gave a talk to fine art students at Central Saint Martins as part of the London art and design college’s Monday Guest Lecture series.
The title – Malcolm McLaren: A New Type Of Artist – stemmed from the catalogue introduction by the late Paul Taylor to Impresario, the 1988 New York New Museum show he curated about McLaren’s activities.
Clearly, Malcolm McLaren is a “bad guy” of contemporary pop culture, a reputation that in these times makes him all the more appealing. To many in the worlds of art and social criticism, however, McLaren is like a new type of artist. A “producer” in more than one sense of the word, he has literally orchestrated new musical events and created provocative “cultural texts” within the mass-media. He has also shown that art in the post-avant-garde era is a matter of synthesis, of combining elements from radically different sources. . . . McLaren is a populariser, which is to say that he is a pioneer.
Specially selected posts from this blog’s archive are now featuring on Flashbak, the digital resource featuring images and stories from the past.
‘Blowing up bridges so there is no way back’: Malcolm McLaren, Situationists + Sex Pistols remembered by Fred Vermorel in new exhibition catalogue
Considered as an artwork, a two-and-a-half year project, and in its own terms, McLaren’s Sex Pistols’ was as seminal and resonant as Picasso’s Guernica.
Only this was a masterpiece made not of paint and canvas but of headlines and scandal, scams and factoids, rumour and fashion, slogans, fantasies and images and (I almost forgot) songs, all in a headlong scramble to auto-destruction.
For it was equally a Situationist treatise-by-example, the unremitting and obdurate core being McLaren’s grasp of the theory of situations as proposed by the SI.
Indeed, the story of the Pistols is a Situationist textbook of how to create situations from which there is no return. You refuse to negotiate, to compromise, to be co-opted, you exacerbate every crisis and recklessly play loser wins and then you blow up all the bridges so then there is no way back.
We are then forced to invent another future. Or maybe simply relish the mess, “the ecstasy of making things worse”.
From Fred Vermorel’s memoir which appears exclusively in the new exhibition catalogue.
The catalogue for the exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges is now available.
The lavishly illustrated 100-page book includes a foreword by John Hansard Gallery’s Ros Carter and Stephen Foster, my introduction, an essay by co-curator David Thorp and a specially commissioned memoir of Malcolm McLaren and his connections to post-war radicals by his art-school friend and collaborator Fred Vermorel.
A few months before Cosey Fanni Tutti upset the apple-cart as a member with Genesis Breyer P. Orridge of COUM Transmissions – the “wreckers of civilisation” who staged the Prostitution exhibition at London’s ICA – the performance artist/musician posed with another model for a 1976 issue of men’s magazine Club International.
Matthew Cornford, co-designer of the Malcolm McLaren art school tour t-shirt with John Beck, has sent another shot of the shirts being sold at last Friday’s event Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible.
The catalogue for exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining The Dots From The Situationist International To Malcolm McLaren is published on Friday (November 13).