Paul Gorman is…

Refna revival: Elizabeth Hamey’s adventures in art, design + fashion

Aug 9th, 2017

//Jean Shrimpton in Mr Freedom Minnie Mouse top, Hans Feurer, Fancy Dressing, Nova, December 1970, with the original design on tracing paper by Refna. No reproduction without permission//

Exciting news: Elizabeth Hamey, who signs her work ‘Refna’, has granted me access to her amazing archive of work at the cross-hatches of art, design and fashion in the 1960s and 70s.

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Happy Birthday British rock and R&B, born 55 years ago tonight at the Ealing Club when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Eric Burdon gathered around Alexis Korner

Mar 17th, 2017

//Top: Entrance to Ealing Club stairwell with jeweller’s to its right, early 1960s. Photo: ealingclub.com. Above: The entrance as it is today//

“Suburbia is the breeding ground for the richest and most innovative cultural production of the 20th and 21st centuries” Rupa Huq, writer and MP for Ealing Central & Acton, 2013

An advert in the New Musical Express for a “Rhythm & Blues Night” staged 55 years ago today – on St Patrick’s Night, March 17, 1962 – sparked the British musical revolution which soundtracked youth culture in the West for decades.

The ad proved a lure for suburban London teenage r&b fans including Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, while Eric Burdon, soon to be vocalist with The Animals, hitchhiked the 300 miles from Newcastle to join them in witnessing the main performance by Blues Incorporated (in fact he and Jagger traded verses on stage during a rendition of Billy Boy Arnold’s I Ain’t Got You).

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On Malcolm McLaren’s reading list: Nik Cohn, Frederick’s Of Hollywood and Giorgio Morandi catalogues, Wilhelm Reich, Tom Wolfe and the folk art and magic studies which inspired fashion adventures with Vivienne Westwood

Jan 3rd, 2017

A few years back I came across Malcolm McLaren’s annotated copy of Indian Rawhide, the anthropologist Mable Morrow’s study of the folk art produced by Native American tribes which inspired the late cultural iconoclast in the conceptualising with his partner Vivienne Westwood of their Spring/Summer 1982 fashion collection Savage.

//Frontispiece to Morrow’s book, published by University of Oklahoma Press in the Civilization Of The American Indian Series, 1975//

//From Indian Rawhide: design produced by the Apache Mescaleros in Taos, New Mexico, matched by McLaren and Westwood with book-end marbling on this Savage slip dress. No reproduction without permission//

//The Apache design as it appeared printed on the end of the train on a Worlds End jersey toga dress. No reproduction without permission//

McLaren obtained a copy of Morrow’s book during travels recording his debut solo album Duck Rock. Since the Pirate collection of March 1981 had established a post-Punk direction for himself and Westwood and their Worlds End shop and label, McLaren set about investigating the powerful ideas residing in pre-Christian ethnic cultures, selecting Indian Rawhide as the text with which to frame the next group of designs.

My McLaren biography, to be published in spring 2018, will reveal that research – particularly literary – was one of the life-long consistencies in his approach to creative acts.

The musician Robin Scott told me that McLaren was an avid attendee of art history lessons during their spell as students at Croydon Art School in the 60s, and a couple of years before his death in 2010 McLaren confirmed that he was inspired in part to open Teddy Boy revival emporium Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road in 1971 after reading Nik Cohn’s peerless post-WW2 youth cult history Today There Are No Gentlemen.

//This edition Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971//

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Signed copies of the Barney Bubbles book now for just £20 UK!

May 23rd, 2016

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Signed copies of Reasons To Be Cheerful, my acclaimed monograph of the radical British graphic artist Barney Bubbles, are now available from my eBay page for just £20 inc shipping in the UK.

Overseas shipping via eBay’s Global Shipping programme is subject to extra charges.

Otherwise you can buy by or paying via PayPal to this address at the following prices:

UK – £20

Continental Europe: £25

US: £30

Japan/Australia: £35

 

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Buy your copies here.

As well as a celebration of a pop culture great, Reasons To Be Cheerful is recognised as a significant design history, praised by leading magazines and newspapers around the world and voted MOJO’s book of the year . It is also a recommended reference source for graphics communications courses at leading educational institutions.

Reasons To Be Cheerful includes contributions from some of the most important graphic practitioners operating today, such as Art Chantry, Malcolm Garrett and Peter Saville.

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‘Progressive, provocative, beautiful and belligerent’: 52-page Malcolm McLaren extravaganza in new issue of Man About Town

Apr 30th, 2016
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//Cover, Man About Town SS16. Otto in Buffalo hat and Rigby & Peller bra (prototype for Nostalgia Of Mud, 1982). Photography: Alasdair McLellan. Styling: Olivier Rizzo//

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//Above left: Frankie in Buffalo hat, white Nike socks and my George Cox Diano creepers. Right: Natalie in Malcolm McLaren’s Chico hat (Witches, 1983), Buffalo jacket (Nostalgia Of Mud, 1982) and Bondage Trousers (Seditionaries, 1976). Photography: Alasdair McLellan. Styling: Olivier Rizzo. Hair: Duffy: Make Up: Lynsey Alexander. Man About Town SS16//

On a warm London afternoon last July I enjoyed a meeting with Ben Reardon, editor-in-chief of the biannual Man About Town, the magazine’s senior fashion editor Danny Reed and Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate.

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Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory: Ben Kelly’s choice for 111 Inspirational Interiors

Apr 13th, 2016
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//Warhol poses for photographer Jon Naar on the famous red couch in his studio on E. 47th Street in midtown Manhattan, 1965//

Designer Ben Kelly, chair of interior and spatial design at University of the Arts London, has chosen this photograph of Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory for his exhibition 111 Inspirational Interiors.

Kelly has curated the show – which opens tomorrow at Windows Gallery 1 at Central Saint Martins  in Kings Cross, North London – after inviting 111 creatives to each select an image of an interior which is important to them.

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‘A complete environment’: Patrick Casey and Malcolm McLaren’s installation at Let It Rock in Ben Kelly’s 111 Inspirational Interiors exhibition

Apr 13th, 2016
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//Interior, 430 King’s Road, west London, designed by Patrick Casey and Malcolm McLaren for the retail outlet Let It Rock and photographed by David Parkinson in January 1972. No reproduction without permission//

I have elected the above image for inclusion in the exhibition 111 Inspirational Interiors, which opens tomorrow in the Windows Gallery 1 at Central Saint Martins in Kings Cross, north London.

The show is curated by designer Ben Kelly in his role as chair of interior and spatial design at University of the Arts London as part of his project Popular Culture And The Interior; the 1972 David Parkinson photograph stems from my participation in Kelly’s ICA symposium last year, Dead Or Alive – Interior Design.

For the exhibition, Kelly invited 111 people to contribute “an image of an interior that has been important and influential in their creative and intellectual development”. The image I chose was taken on the completion of the refurbishment of the ground floor of 430 King’s Road  from the premises of boutique Paradise Garage into Teddy Boy culture emporium Let It Rock in late 1971 by the late Malcolm McLaren and his fellow former Harrow Art School student Patrick Casey.

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Janette Beckman’s Punk Hip Hop Mashup opens in London next week

Jan 14th, 2016

London show evite

Next week witnesses the opening of a London exhibition of reworked images by music/street art photographer Janette Beckman.

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McLaren – A New Type Of Artist: Subject of my talk last night to CSM fine art students

Nov 24th, 2015

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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.

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Taylor wrote:

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.

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‘Blowing up bridges so there is no way back’: Malcolm McLaren, Situationists + Sex Pistols remembered by Fred Vermorel in new exhibition catalogue

Nov 16th, 2015
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//Front and back cover designs//

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//Pages on McLaren including image of the 1977 God Save The Queen muslin top designed with Vivienne Westwood and featuring Jamie Reid’s graphic and lyrics for the Sex Pistols track//

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//Vermorel’s memoir includes images of McLaren’s student work such as this mixed media piece produced while on a fine art course at Goldsmith’s College in 1969//

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.

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