Paul Gorman is…

“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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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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“We’re gonna be different. Why should we dress like everyone else?” Teddy Boys and Girls in Southend’s Long Bar, 1972

Mar 24th, 2017

The priceless footage of Teddy Boys & Girls dancing and talking about their cult lifestyle in the early 70s at the bottom of this post comes from the East Anglian Film Archive, which provides access to 200 hours of moving images relating to the part of the UK 100-or-so miles east of London.

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Reissued: The Look Of London – charting fashion x music in the greatest city in the world

Oct 21st, 2016

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I’m delighted to announce that my map The Look Of London – which teases out the intertwining of popular music and street style in our capital over five decades – has been reissued by groovy guide makers Herb Lester Associates.

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Long Live The Soho Dead: Ghosts of Le Macabre haunt Robert Rubbish’s exhibition Spiritus Soho Volume Zero

Apr 23rd, 2016

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Le Macabre

//Le Macabre, 23 Meard Street, London W1. Photo: Unknown//

“When I started working as the Saturday boy at Let It Rock (in 1973), Malcolm McLaren used to take me around these strange places which played a part in early rock & roll. One time we went to Le Macabre. I don’t know how he knew about it, but it was the real thing. The tables were coffin lids and the jukebox only had songs to do with death.”

Glen Matlock, interview transcript for The Look, 2000.

A chance encounter on eBay spurred artist Robert Rubbish into creating one of the key elements of his current exhibition Spiritus Soho Volume Zero.

Rubbish – who is one of many mourning the recent death of his friend and documentary subject, the poet Jock Scot – is known for deep associations with central London’s Soho, and has celebrated its sleazy past and uneasy present in his own work and with the other members of the art collective Le Gun.

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//Dilly Boys, Robert Rubbish, 2016//

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//The Sailor And The Mermaid, Robert Rubbish, 2016//

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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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Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges catalogue published this Friday

Nov 10th, 2015

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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).

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Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Installation shots from radical art, beat + punk exhibition at John Hansard Gallery

Oct 16th, 2015
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//Top: Anarchy Shirt designed by Malcolm McLaren + Vivienne Westwood, 1976. Worn by Sex Pistols acolytes Jordan (Pamela Rooke) and Simon Barker for performances and TV appearances by the group. Private collection. Above left: screening room for Paris Capital Of The XXIst Century, Malcolm McLaren, 2010; right: vitrines and monitors in gallery 2. Photos: Steve Shrimpton//

Hope you enjoy this selection of installation shots from the exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining The Dots From The Situationist International To Malcolm McLaren, currently wowing visitors to Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery.

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Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Opening a great success

Sep 28th, 2015

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//Viewing exhibits in Gallery 2 at John Hansard Gallery. Pic JHG//

The opening of new exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining The Dots From The Situationist International To Malcolm McLaren at the weekend was a great success.

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//Visitors Nick Abrahams + Suze Malyon with their dog Mrs Shufflewick//

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Modernize your old culture! Be up to date! Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges installation well underway

Sep 23rd, 2015

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DÉTOURNÉD PAINTING

Intended for the public. Easy reading

Collectors and museums,
be modern
If you have old paintings,
do not despair.
Keep your memories
But detourne them
So they correspond to your time
Why reject the old [paintings]
If one can modernize them?
With a few brushstrokes
Modernize your old culture
Be up to date
and distinguished at the same time
Painting is over
Better give it the final blow
Detourne
Long live painting

Asger Jorn, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris, May 1959. Translation: Young Kim.

Among the pertinent exhibits of our forthcoming show Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges is the statement disavowing traditional approaches to artistic creation made by the Danish artist and writer Asger Jorn in the late 50s.

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