Tomorrow (November 2) I am introducing a Malcolm McLaren film night at Southampton’s The Stage Door as part of the city’s Film Week.
27 acknowledgements: Vivienne Westwood, Ian Kelly + Picador’s defence collapses as they accept The Look as a primary source for the designer’s 2014 biography
There has been a breakthrough in my challenge to Dame Vivienne Westwood, her co-author Ian Kelly and publisher Picador over their lifting of substantial amounts of material from my book The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion for the designer’s 2014 “authorised biography”.
The paperback edition of Vivienne Westwood published last week contains a whopping 27 acknowledgements citing me and The Look.
An under-acknowledged art world connection forged by Malcolm McLaren during his fashion design partnership with Vivienne Westwood was to the godfather of street art, conceptual artist Richard Hambleton.
During his forays in New York in the early 80s, McLaren was struck by Hambleton’s eerie representations of The Shadow Man figure; there was one on a wall in Bethune Street in the West Village, near the studio of McLaren’s photographer friend and ally Bob Gruen.
Jenni Murray: You’ve said ‘clothes were politics long before fashion’. What did you mean by that?
Vivienne Westwood: I have no idea.
Jenni Murray: Was it something you said to Ian (Kelly) and now you’ve forgotten?
Vivienne Westwood: No…is that what it says in the book?
Jenni Murray: Yes
Vivienne Westwood: Well then, he might have got a misquote from somewhere.
Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4, October 14, 2014
I respect Dame Vivienne Westwood’s achievements; she has been a significant figure in shaping our collective visual identity.
As someone who is driven to investigate and interpret visual culture, that is important to me. I dedicated a chapter and sections to Westwood’s contribution to fashion with and without Malcolm McLaren in the 2001 and 2006 editions of The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion.
But she is ill-served by the sloppy new book Vivienne Westwood, recently published by Picador and written by actor/author Ian Kelly. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Black is the most exciting colour’ (Goya). Black when used in different ways appears the most infinite and mysterious, the most spatial and loose.
Malcolm McLaren, essay for course at Croydon Art School, 1967
It’s exciting. Work is underway on building the Art In Pop group exhibition which opens next month at Le Magasin, France’s National Centre for Contemporary Art in Grenoble.
Featuring artworks by musicians such as Don Van Vliet and Daniel Johnstone as well as musical ventures by artists including John Armleder and John Miller, Art In Pop incorporates the sizeable space dedicated to Let It Rock, the show exploring the work of the late Malcolm McLaren.
This will focus on McLaren’s investigations into the visual arts from the 60s to his death in 2010 along with the engagements with commercial media such as fashion, film and music for which he is best known.
In line with Let It Rock’s manifestation at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair this summer, the pink-on-black Let It Rock sign will be recreated, this time at the entrance to the Malcolm McLaren room.
For Art In Pop the sign is being matched by a giant reproduction of the shop logo which followed Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road: Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.
The dominant use of black behind these logos riffs on McLaren’s repeated use of the colour in his work and should make for an impactful introduction to the show, which will feature hundreds of exhibits from throughout the cultural iconoclast’s artistic life.
Art In Pop – which is curated by Magasin’s Yves Aupetitallot with John Armleder, Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate, John Miller and I – runs from Oct 11 to January 4, 2015 at Le Magasin, 8 esplanade Andry Farcy, 38028 Grenoble.
More info here.
Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Bob Carlos Clarke + David Parkinson images of the ciré Sex mackintosh dress
//Photography: Bob Carlos Clarke 1976 (left) and David Parkinson 1975//
Malcolm designed a very nice women’s mac. A real 50s style, it was made of very thin ciré and looked almost like a dress, with its circular skirt and stand-up collar. It was like something that the B52s might have worn – half a dozen years later.
Glen Matlock on his time as a shop assistant at Sex in his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol (first published 1990, Omnibus Press)
As well as unique examples of Malcolm McLaren’s fashion designs with Vivienne Westwood, along with exclusive photographic prints of work by such luminaries as Robyn Beeche, Bob Gruen, Sheila Rock and Joe Stevens, the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion will present a panoply of ephemera, including many never previously catalogued publications which featured some of the extraordinary clothing emanating from 430 King’s Road in the 70s and 80s.
Among them is the ultra rare 1976 issue of photographer Bob Carlos Clarke’s magazine Vamp, loaned by collector/expert Paul Burgess. Among the garments from Sex in the Flash ‘Em Fashion spread is the delightful rainwear dress designed by McLaren, which was also photographed by David Parkinson for Club International.
In his memoir I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol, Glen Matlcok recounted how this particular design was plundered by the mainstream fashion business: “This woman’s firm totally ripped it off for one of the mid-market youth fashion houses. And made a mint out of it. Without paying a penny to Malcolm and Vivienne – whose idea it was. Well, sort of. They probably ripped it off themselves from a Hollywood still. But that’s not the point really. Their’s was a fully-developed idea and garment.”
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion runs from August 3-6 at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center as part of Coepnhagen Fashion Week.
Read more here.
In the shop’s various incarnations I made clothes that looked like ruins. I created something new by destroying the old. This wasn’t fashion as a commodity; this was fashion as an idea.
From his foreword to The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion, Malcolm McLaren, 2001
The first exhibition to examine the late cultural iconoclast Malcolm McLaren’s engagement with fashion in the 70s and early 80s is to be held next month in Copenhagen.
Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion – curated by Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate and me – is being staged from August 3-6 as part of the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair; creative directors Pierre Tzenkoff and Arnaud Vanraet have commissioned the show in conjunction with an exhibition entitled Industrial by Nature by streetwear guru Virgil Abloh.
Let It Rock will investigate McLaren’s deep roots in fashion (his mother + stepfather operated the womenswear brand Eve Edwards in the 50s and 60s and his grandfather was a master tailor’s cutter) and will also demonstrate how he drew on his art-school investigations into environments to become the progenitor of the pop up shop concept.
Let It Rock revolves around an installation dedicated to the shop from which it takes its title, complete with a recreation of the frontage in black corrugated iron and pink rock&roll signage McLaren designed when he opened the premises with Vivienne Westwood in 1971.
The exhibition is divided into six sections each dedicated to the manifestations at 430 King’s Road as well as Nostalgia Of Mud, the outlet operated by McLaren and Westwood at 5 St Christopher’s Place in London’s West End from 1982 to 1984.
These sections will all feature rarely-seen and never previously publicly-exhibited clothing designs, photography, sketches, notes, magazine spreads and even pages from McLaren’s notebooks.
Among the exhibits is McLaren’s own ‘I Groaned…” t-shirt from Sex, the Chico hat and grey Crombie coat he wore in the famous portrait for the Witches collection taken by Steven Meisel for Vogue in 1983, the short sheepskin jacket worn through the Buffalo Girls and Duck Rock period and a Let It Rock drape suit fitted personally by McLaren for guitarist songwriter Marco Pirroni.
Ben Kelly – who realised the design for the exterior of Seditionaries in 1976 and is now professor of interiors & spatial design at University Of The Arts London – is contributing photographs taken of his work at the time for his portfolio and there is a very special leather t-shirt bearing a Let It Rock label during the transition in 1974 to the incarnation as Sex.
Contributors also include photographers Robyn Beeche, Bob Gruen, the David Parkinson Estate and Sheila Rock as well as others close to McLaren during his game-changing adventures in the fashion world.
Find out more about the show on the CIFF site here.
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.
Performa 13 celebrates Duck Rock’s 30th anniversary: Marclay presents McLaren Award + Vinyl Factory releases special white vinyl 7″
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.