Paul Gorman is…

Delirious New York: Legends Bobby Busnach + Gerry Visco, The Park Royal Hotel, the South Bronx scene and Boston’s The Other Side

Nov 22nd, 2013

//Gerry Visco in SEX Cowboys t-shirt and leather miniskirt, The Park Royal, NYC, 1976. © Bobby Busnach//

These captivating 70s images stem from the amazing photographic archive of New York DJ legend Bobby Busnach.

Many feature Busnach’s friend and muse, the fabulous writer/photographer/performer Gerry Visco, as well as the circles they moved in at NYC’s Park Royal Hotel, Boston disco/bar The Other Side and the nascent hip-hop scene in the South Bronx.

//Visco, Hillside Avenue,Boston, 1973. (c) Bobby Busnach//

//Donnie Ward, Hillside Avenue, 1974. © Bobby Busnach//

//Tony Roldan (centre) at the handball courts at 146th Street and Brook Avenue, the Bronx, 1976. © Bobby Busnach//

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Jim French: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor exhibition + new Colt apparel collection

Nov 21st, 2013

//Jim French Polaroid studies//

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor is an exhibition of Polaroids taken by artist, illustrator and print-maker Jim French which opens tonight at New York’s ClampArt gallery.

These include studies for French’s 1969 Colt Studio print Longhorns Dance, incorporated by Malcolm McLaren in 1975 in his notorious Cowboys t-shirt design, as sold in Sex and Seditionaries at 430 King’s Road and worn by the Sex Pistols and others.

//Longhorns Dance by Colt (Jim French) from Manpower! issue 7, 1974//

//Wearing their Cowboys (clockwise from top left): McLaren 1975, Sid Vicious 1977, Siouxsie 1976, Steve Jones 1975. Photographs: Bob Gruen; Dennis Morris; Ray Stevenson; Mick Rock.//


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Performa 13 celebrates Duck Rock’s 30th anniversary: Marclay presents McLaren Award + Vinyl Factory releases special white vinyl 7″

Nov 21st, 2013

This year’s presentation of the Malcolm McLaren Award at the finale of performance arts biennale Performa will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconoclast’s game-changing LP Duck Rock.

Hosted by eminent writer Glenn O’Brien and McLaren’s widow Young Kim, the event on Sunday will culminate in the presentation of the award by sound artist Christian Marclay to the artist under 40 who has demonstrated “the most innovative and thought-provoking performance” during Performa’s three-week run.

Designed by Marc Newson, the Malcolm McLaren Award was inaugurated at the last Performa in 2011, where it was presented by the late Lou Reed.

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Last few days of Punk @ SHOWStudio: Why this exhibition is true to the wit, elegance and design skills of the McLaren/Westwood partnership

Nov 18th, 2013

//One wall of the ShowStudio Punk exhibition//

In the period 1972-78 when the body of the partnership’s punk fashions were created, Malcolm McLaren’s art education and development as a largely conceptual visual artist was applied with Vivienne Westwood’s intuitive and sophisticated technical skills.

The resultant potency of the work was achieved by such factors as: balance in the proportions; deft use of juxtaposition; confidence in realisation; jarring harmony in the use of colour; wit in the application of motifs; and astute sense of framing, particularly of text and visual imagery.

Excerpt from introduction to my review of the McLaren/Westwood designs in the Costume Institute collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, summer 2013.

Precision, deftness, balance, harmony, these are terms unjustly omitted from the standard  critical lexicon applied to punk’s central design aesthetics as conceived and realised by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and their coterie.

Which is why Punk @ ShowStudio, the elegant exhibition which is now moving into its final week at photographer Nick Knight’s Belgravia gallery, is to be applauded, since it avoids the run-of-the-mill in favour of recognition of the importance of these qualities.

“I was very impressed. It was inspiring to see what I like to call ‘the origins of Punk’ as opposed to the usual well documented ‘greatest hits of Punk’,” the collector/archivist/author Paul Burgess wrote to me recently.

//Part of Judy Blame's contribution to the exhibition//

Read more about Punk @ ShowStudio here.
The exhibition is open every day 11am-6pm until Friday at 19 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8LB.

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Handbags, gladrags, fragrances, films, lectures + twitter spats…Barney Bubbles’ undimmed lightbulb of inspiration

Nov 14th, 2013

//Olympia Le-Tan handbag based on artwork for The Damned's 1977 LP Music For Pleasure, with promotional t-shirt for Fred Burns' documentary Johnny Moped Basically using 1978 lightbulb design//

So potent is the creative legacy of the graphic design master Barney Bubbles – who died on this day 30 years ago – that he is continually cited as an inspiration by contemporary visual communicators, while his name and work is attached to all manner of endeavours.

Recently, Bubbles artworks were chosen by the French fashionista Olympia Le-Tan to lead her exclusive collection of handbags. Meantime Tokyo lifestyle label retaW has named a range of fragrance products “Barney*” in celebration of “the many album covers he was responsible for in the 70s and 80s”.

//Barney* products named after Bubbles by Japanese lifestyle company retaW//

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Interview with Nick Logan in anniversary issue of Arena Homme +

Nov 4th, 2013

//Feature includes this Nick Logan self portrait//

The new issue of Arena Homme + features my interview with publishing legend Nick Logan, who founded the men’s fashion magazine 20 years ago.

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Before Wire and The Motors, The Snakes: My part in their punk rock obscurity

Nov 3rd, 2013

//Richard Wernham, Nick Garvey, Robert Gotobed, Rob Smith on the front cover of Teenage Head/Lights Out by The Snakes, Dynamo Records, 1976//

I went to a good school (it was approved, as my first editor would have it in the late 70s. You had to be there).

I was taken on as a scholarship boy, one who showed enough promise for the fees to be paid by the council.

But I was lazy, not as bright as I made out, unhappy, an under-achiever. Aside from winning the cross-country race when I was 14, my life there was almost entirely undistinguished, so preoccupied was I with music, clothes and girls. I had pretensions to vast knowledge in all three areas undercut by lack of experience in the latter regard.

//Booklet with Quadrophenia, an album about "a cat with four personalities" according to me, 1973//

//School report 1975: "If Paul is as familiar with DG Mackean's Introduction To Biology as he is with the NME, he will pass his O-Level. As it is, he isn't, so I fear he won't." And I didn't//

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