Paul Gorman is…

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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‘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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Barney Bubbles: Optics & Semantics at Rob Tufnell London

Aug 31st, 2017

//AC/DC Desk (with plug stool), Get Happy!! lightbulb poster, ‘Kill Time’ Stiff Records clock + Ian Dury Cocktail cabinet//

You wait years for a Barney Bubbles exhibition and then two come along in the space of a month.

On the heels of the mini-show of Barney Bubbles music designs at Fred Perry’s basement space in Covent Garden comes a different take on the work of the late graphics maestro.

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A bastion of splendid non-conformity: Brian Griffin’s photos of Duggie Fields at home in the late 70s

Aug 18th, 2017

//Duggie Fields at home, late 1970s. © Brian Griffin. No reproduction without permission//

//Duggie Fields’ apartment, late 1970s. © Brian Griffin. No reproduction without permission//

Among my current projects is an article for Apartamento about the great British artist Duggie Fields and his flat in London’s Earl’s Court.

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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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Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry: This year’s most exciting street-style collab

Jul 24th, 2017

“Because it’s so damn good!” Extracts from my exclusive interview with pioneering illustrator/photographer Jim French, who has died aged 84

Jun 18th, 2017

//Jim French. Photo: SHOWStudio//

The American illustrator and photographer Jim French – best known for his pioneering endeavours in the field of homoerotic art – has died at home in Palm Springs at the age of 84.

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Was it The Fool or Alexander Trocchi? The mystery of Warhol Waking at Kensington Town Hall in May 1971

Apr 22nd, 2017

//Front of folded flyer, 6.5 x 8″//

Graphic artist, musician, fashion and interiors designer and all-round all-rounder Ian Harris has granted me access to more items from his amazing archive; this is in the intriguing category –  a flyer for a most unusual art project he visited in the early 1970s.

Warhol Waking was staged over one day in the foyer of Kensington Town Hall in west London in the spring of 1971. This tumultuous period of creative experimentation in public and private spaces was later described as representing either “the immense variety and talent of the London arts scene or its condition of cultural confusion” by artist and art historian John A. Walker.

The installation/intervention proved challenging for visitors: it comprised a typical domestic bed with sheets and blanket drawn back to reveal excrement juxtaposed with a towering orchid which drooped as the day passed and flies gathered.

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Don’t Knock The Rock: John E. Reed’s eternal image of exuberant Little Richard

Apr 20th, 2017

//London Records promotional image, 1958//

In 1956 the Hollywood photographer John E. Reed took a series of promotional shots of the stars of DJ Alan Freed’s rocksploitation flick Don’t Knock The Rock.

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