take a peek at the exhibition paying tribute to punk’s pioneers
The Photographer’s Gallery celebrates punk’s 40th birthday with a collection of images charting punk’s explosion and its echoes around the world.
Photography Shirley Baker. Two punks drinking cider, Stockport, 1983. Courtesy of Shirley Baker Estate / Mary Evans Picture Library.
Punk was more than just music or fashion, it was an attitude, and an attitude that existed long before punk in exploded in 1976 (Dada were the first punks, or The Stooges were, etc.) and long after punk (supposedly) died when The Clash signed a major label record deal in 1977. Punk might've so successfully set the template of youthful, subcultural rebellion to have made it a cliché, but punk's spirit, energy and daring iconoclasm spread from a London epicenter to influence almost everything that has come since.
A new series of exhibitions being organized by The Photographer's Gallery in London aims to show just how far and wide punk's influence spread and can be traced. In fashion, from the rebellious SEX-obsessed kids who hung around with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, turning punk's DIY attitude to homemade clothing creations, to the pared back, raw aggression of the Skinhead scene and wild pan-sexual flamboyance of the Blitz kids.
The exhibition features previously unseen images from 80s female street style pioneer Shirley Baker, who was active in the north of England throughout her life, and here charts those keeping the torch burning for original punk style in mid-80s Manchester. There's a new work by Nick Knight, featuring interviews with many of punk's key players, tracing an oral and visual history of the scene's evolution.
The gallery will also unite work by other iconic punk image makers like Derek Ridgers, Gavin Watson, and Anita Corbin. Straying as far afield as New York and Jamaica, the show examines the subcultural cross-contamination between punk and hip hop, punk and dub, and the ways these scenes pushed avant-garde sonic agendas into the mainstream consciousness.
Alongside this, there will be screenings of Derek Jarman's landmark 1978 film, Jubilee; a performance by The Raincoats in the gallery; an event taking a look inside the archive of punk historian Toby Mott; and two off site exhibitions at Sonos Studios in Shoreditch.
For more information and to purchase tickets for The Raincoats gig visit thephotographersgallery.org.uk
Text Felix Petty