Paul Gorman is…

Cunst Art: Caroline Coon’s hand-rendered Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984

May 3rd, 2017

I once asked gallery owner Angela Flowers for her definition of an artist. Without hesitating she said: “That’s easy. An artist is someone who simply has to paint every day.” Caroline is the personification of that description.

Charlotte Metcalf from her editor’s note, Laid Bare Dairy 1983-1984

A fascinating and frank document of the period of the artist’s personal life conveyed by the title, Caroline Coon’s Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984 is also a  lovingly realised bookwork.

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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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Apollonia Van Ravenstein + Ara Gallant in originals of Seditionaries Mickey & Minnie and Exposé t-shirts

Feb 21st, 2017

//Van Ravenstein with Gallant (wearing his trademark Japanese schoolboy’s cap adorned with gold charms). From photo by Francis Ing//

Images of the novelty t-shirt designs détourned by the late Malcolm McLaren for sale in Seditionaries in 1978 are rare, which is why this shot of Apollonia Van Ravenstein and Ara Gallant from a spread in a late 70s issue of L’Uomo Vogue is extra special.

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Curious, humorous and anonymous: Ian Harris’s Argos art postcard interventions

Feb 18th, 2017

/A selection of the 60 appended cards Harris placed in London art gallery and museum shops. No reproduction without permission//

//The Death Of Marat, Jacques-Louis David, 1793. No reproduction without permission//

//Charles I, Daniel Mytens, 1631. Card from National Portrait Gallery. No reproduction without permission//

Ian Harris is a man of many parts, having been at various stages in his life a successful graphic artist, fashion designer, homewares retailer and musician/performer, notably with late 60s blues-rock group The Earth and as his mod revival alter ego Terry Tonik.

Just this week Harris let me in on a curious, humorous and anonymous public intervention series he staged in London galleries and museums a few years back.

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Sweet relief in design + anti-design: Josef Frank at FTM + Make It Real at DKUK

Jan 27th, 2017

Sweet relief from travails personal and political was provided last night by visits to openings of two contrasting yet similarly satisfying creative endeavours in our great capital.

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Exclusive installation shots from North: Identity, Photography, Fashion

Jan 5th, 2017

//Mannequin, New Power Studio, Autumn/Winter 2010 – Spring/Summer 2012. Wall: Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, 1995-2001, Jason Evans//

//Set design, Tony Hornecker, 2016. Film: Stylist Simon Foxton discusses growing up in Berwick-upon-Tweed, produced in collaboration with SHOWstudio, 2016//

I am very grateful to curators Adam Murray and Lou Stoppard for these exclusive installation shots from their exciting exhibition North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, which opens in a couple of hours at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery.

Exploring the influence of England’s northern cities and landscape on fashion and visual culture, the show presents the work of such vital image-makers as Alasdair McLellan – who has created his first film installation for public display at North – as well as Jamie Hawkesworth, Glen Luchford and Nick Knight.

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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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Unflinching beauty: The work of Emma Hopkins in new exhibition FACE | TIME

Nov 3rd, 2016

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Tonight sees the opening of a group show featuring the work of one of my favourite contemporary figurative artists, Emma Hopkins.

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//Uta. Mixed media on polyester, 125 x 57cm. Emma Hopkins 2016//

Hopkins’ work unflinchingly considers the raw beauty of the human anatomy and physiognomy. As she says: “I paint people from the inside out.”

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Stop look and listen: It’s called Rubber Stamping baby

Oct 8th, 2016

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Artist/illustrator Stephen Fowler’s Rubber Stamping is an engaging guide which stems from his rich body of work in primitive, D-I-Y printmaking.

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Sex signage: Was McLaren inspired by Lubalin’s cladding for the Georg Jensen flagship NY store?

Sep 30th, 2016
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//Detail, clad signage for Georg Jensen, 601 Madison Avenue, late 60s. From Herb Lubalin: Typographer, Unit Editions, 2016//

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//Detail, shop signage designed by Malcolm McLaren, made by Vick Mead, 430 King’s Road, London, 1975. From a photograph by Peter Schlesinger//

Was the late Malcolm McLaren inspired by one of the greats of 20th century graphics in his creation of the astonishing signage for Sex, the fetishistic fashion boutique and incubator of punk rock he operated with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in west London between October 1974 and November 1976?

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