God Save the ‘Zine: Hayward Gallery celebrates Punk Graphics

Whether we notice it or not, its increasingly apparent just how far punk graphic aesthetics have informed today’s visual culture.

Darby Crash of The Germs, Slash magazine cover, 1978

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Darby Crash of The Germs, Slash magazine cover, 1978

The cut-and-paste ransom stylings of Sex Pistols album artwork or Linder Sterling’s iconic Buzzcocks collages have now quietly seeped into the mainstream, influencing everything from high-street clothing stores to editorial design to today’s pop bands.

Gaye Advert and Joan Jett, 1977

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Gaye Advert and Joan Jett, 1977

And while in their (often unimaginatively) reinterpreted forms these graphics lose some of the glue sniffin’, safety-pinned danger they once did, the original graphics are still just as visceral and brilliant as ever.

Punk-Style Graphics In The Rock Broadsheet Fusion, Circa 1970.

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Punk-Style Graphics In The Rock Broadsheet Fusion, Circa 1970.Nick Tosches’s article The Punk Muse is the earliest example found on the usage of the term punk contextualized within the music culture of the 1970s.

‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984, a new show opening at London’s Hayward Project Space next week, will present an overview of punk graphic design from before, during, and after the punk years.

Raymond Pettibon flyer and poster art, Los Angeles, 290 California, circa 1978–1982

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Raymond Pettibon flyer and poster art, Los Angeles, 290 California, circa 1978–1982

Curated by acclaimed punk writers Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, the show will feature hundreds of previously unseen pieces from the punk era, including homemade cassettes, fanzines, posters, records and clothing.

Diggers/Communication Company Mimeographed Handout, 1967

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Diggers/Communication Company Mimeographed Handout, 1967

Highlights from the exhibition include early press releases and pamphlets for the Sex Pistols and the Ramones; rare DIY 7” records for visitors to listen to; Malcolm McLaren’s situationist-informed art school prints; Raymond Pettibon’s early 1980s limited edition Black Flag prints and a Linder Sterling flyer for a 1978 Joy Division performance in Manchester.

Sniffin’ Glue issues, 1976

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Sniffin’ Glue issues, 1976

Kugelberg says, ‘If you don’t like the culture you are spoon-fed, you can make your own. It worked wonders at the end of the 1970s, and all these jagged, chiaroscuro urgent masterpieces of graphic design, executed by art school masters alongside anguished adolescents continue to reverberate as get-up-and-get-on-with-it eyeball-pleasers.’

Work from designers and artists including Gee Vaucher, Linder Sterling, Jamie Reid, Gary Panter, Raymond Pettibon, John Holmstrom and Penny Rimbaud will be on show.

Television at CBGB with proto-Blondie group The Stillettoes opening, May 5, 1974

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Television at CBGB with proto-Blondie group The Stillettoes opening, May 5, 1974

Pieces like the Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren-designed clothing on display show how readily emulated the punk style remains; and it’s clear the rife fanzine culture today simply wouldn’t exist without the proliferation of zines such as London’s Outrage, Punk, Sniffin’ Glue and Suburban Press (many of which will feature in the show) that spewed into being during the era.

Tuli Kupferberg Art Fanzine, 1964

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Tuli Kupferberg Art Fanzine, 1964

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Punk: An Aesthetic, by Kugelberg and Savage, published by Rizzoli. There will also be a panel discussion at the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room on 13 September with  Tony Drayton, editor of 1980s punk fanzines Ripped & Torn and Kill Your Pet Puppy; writer William Gibson; writer and cartoonist John Holmstrom and Crass record-sleeve artist Gee Vaucher.

Japanese punk fanzine ‘Insane Whorehouse’, 1979

Source: © PUNK: An Aesthetic edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, Rizzoli, 2012

Japanese punk fanzine ‘Insane Whorehouse’, 1979

‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984  runs from 14 September – 4 November at Hayward Gallery Project Space, Belvedere Road
London, SE1

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