Paul Gorman is…

Unmade Up… Enlightening vignettes from Edward Bell’s unusual acquaintance with David Bowie

Sep 26th, 2017

//When they met, Bowie was scrutinising this portrait of Sex, Seditionaries and Jubilee superstar Jordan Mooney at Bell’s exhibition Larger Than Life//

“I, too, had to maintain a certain degree of detachment, and indeed to want and expect nothing of him; the paradox will always remain that, if David Bowie had not been David Bowie, then David Bowie and I could have been friends.”

Edward Bell, 2017

Edward Bell first encountered David Bowie when the rock chameleon turned up unexpectedly at a private view for the British visual artist’s first exhibition in 1980.

They last spoke in 2013, a few years before the musician/performer’s untimely demise. In the intervening period Bell and Bowie hung out in London, Venice and Los Angeles, collaborated on record sleeve projects and maintained sometimes sporadic contact, via a Swiss letter drop address and out-of-the-blue phone calls.

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Long-awaited monograph Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-entry to be published by Thames & Hudson in October

Jun 19th, 2015
T&H Catalogue - Rethink:Re-entry copy

//From Thames & Hudson’s July-December 2015 catalogue//

“As an artist Derek Boshier has never lost his sense of wonder at the world” – David Hockney

The publication date of Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-entry – the monograph of the great British artist I have edited – is confirmed as October 5.

Published by Thames & Hudson with a preface by David Hockney, Rethink/Re-entry contains 300-plus illustrations, from student exercises in the mid-50s to current works including the cover, a new portrait of Hockney and chapter openers especially designed by Boshier for the project.

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Talking Interiors with The Photo Kid tonight: International Orange – When Attitudes Become Form

Feb 4th, 2015

Ben Kelly - Talking Interiors E-invite

Looking forward to this evening’s lecture by designer Ben Kelly at his alma mater, the Royal College Of Art.
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Guest post: Peter Knock pays tribute to Robyn Denny (1930-2014)

May 26th, 2014
Robyn-Denny

//Robyn Denny, early 60s. Photo: Bernard Jacobson Gallery//

Artist/illustrator Peter Knock pays tribute to the British ‘Situation’ painter Robyn Denny, who has died:

Sad to learn of the death of abstract painter Robyn Denny last Tuesday (May 20).  It surprised me that he was, in fact, 83; my image of him is locked into the 60s when he was one of the hip and talented artists to have emerged from the Royal College of Art (where he studied in the 50s).

Great Big Biggest Wide London, Denny’s mural for Austin Reed’s Regent Street store, conveyed classic 1960s new age optimism, and received the ultimate seal of approval as a piece defining of its era when The Beatles asked to be photographed standing in front of it in 1963.

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Mr Freedom designs at the V&A: ‘When what has been considered bad taste is suddenly found to be invigorating’

Dec 20th, 2013

V+AArchive-MrFreedomWingedBoots2

“There is a moment when ‘good taste’ becomes dead; what has been considered ‘bad’ is suddenly found to be invigorating. Fashion today has little to do with la mode and the tacky is often accepted as an essential part of the necessary ‘total’ look. It can be fun.”

Cecil Beaton, introduction to the catalogue for the 1971 V&A exhibition Fashion: An Anthology

Recent visits to the V&A’s Archive of Art & Design have proved fruitful, particularly a viewing earlier this week of the collection of  Pop Art clothing sold through London boutique Mr Freedom in the late 60s and early 70s.

V+AArchive-MrFreedomGodBlessWoolworthstop

//Design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomPKOfftop

//Kiss Off t-shirt, Jim O’Connor, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomRamalamadingdongtshirt

//Design Christopher Snow/Trevor Myles, body design: Diana Crawshaw, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomUniversityofWishfulThinkingtshirt

//Design: Pamla Motown, 1971//

V+AArchive-MrFreedomSpottedJockeyJacket

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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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Derek Boshier’s diary fit to burst: Imaginary Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, A Survey Of Work at Boston’s Gallery 360, films at Brooklyn’s Light Industry and inclusion in the Barbican’s huge Pop Art retrospective

Sep 28th, 2013

//David Bowie As The Elephant Man by Derek Boshier, 1980 © Derek Boshier c/o Flowers Gallery//

Today the National Portrait Gallery unveiled Imaginary Portraits, a selection of works by artist Derek Boshier, who is the subject of a monograph I am editing.

Prominent are two studies of David Bowie; an oil-on-canvas painting executed in New York in 1980 while Bowie was rehearsing for his role in Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man at the city’s Booth Theatre and a 1981 ink-on-paper drawing which resulted from Boshier’s design for the sleeve for the album Lodger a couple of years earlier.

//Outer gatefold sleeve, Lodger, David Bowie, RCA, 1979. Design Derek Boshier, photography Brian Duffy//

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Ian Dury, Dany Bubbles + Barney Bubbles

Jun 26th, 2013

//Dany Bubbles, 1963-66. Pencil and acrylic, 29" x 20" (framed)//

I sourced one of the paintings which is in More Than Fair, the exhibition of Ian Dury’s artworks which opens at his alma mater, London’s Royal College of Art, next month.

Dury gave the ultra-Pop Dany Bubbles to his friend and designer Barney Bubbles in the late 70s during their spell of collaboration which resulted in a series of triumphs: single sleeves such as Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, What A Waste and Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, the 28 wallpaper covers of the album Do It Yourself, the Blockhead logo…

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The Photo Kid: Ben Kelly at the Royal College Of Art, 1974

Jun 13th, 2013

This is designer Ben Kelly at his 1974 degree show at London’s Royal College Of Art.

Kelly adopted the alter-ego The Photo Kid, who is portrayed in the work by which he is standing. The Photo Kid wore clothes – in particular brothel creepers – from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Let It Rock, as did Kelly; the shoes, pink socks and belt in this photograph all came from there, while the Hopalong Cassiday & Topper top (see Ian Harris’s comment below) was picked up at a Paris flea market.

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‘Soho-Italianate’: Gordon Moore’s advert for Vince Man’s Shop in ARK magazine 1957

Aug 24th, 2012


This advert for Vince Man’s Shop – the small Soho boutique which sparked the modernisation of menswear design and retailing in the second half of the 20th century – was designed by Gordon Moore for issue 20 of the Royal College Of Art magazine ARK, published in autumn 1957.

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