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Richard Hell + Young Kim present the Performa 15 Malcolm McLaren Award to Edgar Arceneaux

Nov 24th, 2015

//Edgar Arceneaux making his acceptance speech with the Malcolm McLaren Award. Photo: @performanyc’s Instagram feed//

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.


//Hell on stage on Sunday night at New York’s Hôtel Americano. Photo: @performanyc’s Instagram feed//

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Weld: Beguiling Brian Griffin considers fashion + feminism in Disegno

Aug 13th, 2015

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//Left: Top in blue suede, JW Anderson for Loewe. Right: White cotton shirt and blue flared trousers, both Kenzo//

Photographer Brian Griffin rarely fails to beguile, as evinced by these portraits from a series produced with stylist Emma Clifton for architectural/design/fashion magazine Disegno earlier this year.

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Barney Bubbles designs go regional at the National Museum Cardiff + Ludlow Fringe Art Trail

Jun 16th, 2015

//A doozy: This point-of-sale design by Barney Bubbles for Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ 1980 LP Get Happy!! is among rare rock posters on show at Mod Lang in Ludlow. Photo: Paul Bradshaw//

The regions are where it’s at these days, so we are told, and naturally Barney Bubbles designs can be found in the thick of it.

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Malcolm McLaren in Witches trenchcoat on the steps of the British Museum 1983

Jun 9th, 2015


This portrait of Malcolm McLaren was captured among the columns outside the entrance to London’s august British Museum by Andy Rosen in 1983.

In the photograph taken during promotion of the Duck Rock album, which was released at the start of 1983, McLaren sported a rare trenchcoat design from the Witches collection he and Vivienne Westwood debuted on the catwalk that spring.

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Malcolm McLaren exhibition: The roots of Savages + his copy of Mable Morrow’s folk art book Indian Rawhide

Jul 30th, 2014

//Malcolm McLaren’s copy of Mable Morrow’s Indian Rawhide: An American Folk Art, published by Oklahoma University Press as part of the Civilization Of American Indian series in 1975//


//Annotated page showing design for a parfleche (painted hide) of the Dakota//


//Savages dress in thick jersey and cotton with overprinted lettering. Design: Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for Worlds End, 1982. Private collection//

Among the most revealing exhibits at the Malcolm McLaren show Let It Rock is the cultural iconoclast’s copy of a folk art book which proved a rich source of reference when he came to design the Savages collection with Vivienne Westwood in 1982.

McLaren’s consistent approach to creative activity always began with deep research (from the first publicly recognised manifestation, the Teddy Boy outlet Let It Rock, to his final film artworks Shallow 1-21 and Paris: City Of The XXIst Century).

And in the early 80s, McLaren’s copy of Mable Morrow’s Indian Rawhide, published by Oklahoma University Press in 1975, proved inspirational for this lifelong fan of Native American Indian culture.


//Assiniboin parfleche design collected on the Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana//


//Savages soft jersey top with contrasting armpit inserts and neck yolk. Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for Worlds End, 1982. Private collection.//

McLaren’s recasting of this folk art in the sphere of fashion aligns his work in the 70s and 80s with the post-modern practice of appropriation which infused all spheres of artistic endeavour at the time, from literature to film and fine art. It is arguable that he and Westwood were the first and the greatest to incorporate the approach in clothing design.

When Savages debuted in October 1982 at Olympia’s Pillar Hall in west London, the repurposing of Native American tribal prints across a range of fabrics and garments – some overprinted with block capital slogans such as “Breaker” and “Girly” – and meshing with contemporary urban black culture and streetwear proved groundbreaking in fashion terms, as can be seen in this film commissioned for the event by McLaren:


Indian Rawhide and the clothing featured in this post are among the many rare and unique exhibits in Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion, which is at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center from August 3-6.

Read more here.

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The Face book announced in The Bookseller

Jul 23rd, 2013

The return of Kix: Fu Manchu by The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra ft Bitty McLean

May 6th, 2013

Dave Robinson, one of the British music business’s towering figures, has sent me this lovely pop-reggae tune from Madness man Lee Thompson’s project.

It’s great for this sunny Bank Holiday; Bitty McLean is on top vocal form.

Fair takes me back to seeing Madness in their North London Invaders incarnation support a jazz-rock trio (!) at Camden Town’s Dublin Castle, and before that the graffito ‘Kix’ emblazoned around 70s teenage nexus Golders Green tube station (courtesy of Thompson).

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It’s a date: In conversation with Boy George at the V&A on April 9

Feb 26th, 2013

Interview on

Oct 18th, 2012

I’m interviewed by Andrew Bunney about the Tommy Roberts book on Japanese lifestyle/culture blog Honeyee – read here.

This is Andrew’s own honeyee blog.

Buy Mr Freedom – Tommy Roberts: British Design Hero here.

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The Past The Present & The Possible in Libération

Jun 6th, 2012


French newspaper Libération’s coverage of the White Noise show in Chaumont included a section on my Barney Bubbles exhibit The Past The Present & The Possible.

Marie Lechner’s report – see here – points to Bubbles’ “spirit of protest and fun” shared by other White Noise exhibitors such as French design/music magician Shoboshobo (aka Mehdi Hercberg).

Visit Shoboshobo’s site here.

White Noise – curated by Sophie Demay and Etienne Hervy – is on until Sunday (June 10). Thereafter it will be open for a week exclusively for schools, colleges and general educational purposes.

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