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.