Punk Graphics at Hayward Gallery, London (2012)

Punk Graphics 1971-84

Hayward Gallery, London
14 September – 4 November 2012

Press release text by Hayward Gallery

This autumn, from 14 September to 4 November 2012, the Hayward Gallery Project Space will host ‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984, a comprehensive overview of punk graphic design from before, during, and after the punk years.

Curated by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage, the exhibition will include several hundred pieces of previously unseen material from private archives and collections: homemade cassettes, fanzines, posters, handbills, records and clothing. Highlights include work by Gee Vaucher, Linder Sterling, Jamie Reid, Gary Panter, Raymond Pettibon, John Holmstrom and Penny Rimbaud, alongside numerous anonymous artists.

The punk movement was an expression of youthful rebellion and anti-authoritarian mentality, characterised by distinctive styles of clothing and graphic imagery. The explosion of DIY graphics during the punk movement reflected the consciousness and anti-aesthetic of a new counterculture. This upsurge in graphic creativity revolutionised design, with its influence still felt today— perhaps more so than any time since its inception— as designers consciously or unconsciously tap into a rough-hewn aesthetic and handcrafted visual-language. Much of the graphic material from this period was created by inspired amateurs, and was ephemeral by nature.

Johan Kugelberg, co-curator, said: ‘If you don’t like the culture you are spoon-fed, you can make your own. It worked wonders at the end of the seventies, and all these jagged, chiaro-scuro 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.’

Spanning a range of different media, works presented in ‘Someday All the Adults Will Die’: Punk Graphics 1971 – 1984 include: various ephemera such as clothing designed by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren; early press releases and pamphlets for the Sex Pistols and the Ramones; publications and early fanzines including London’s Outrage, Punk, Sniffin’ Glue, Suburban Press; a rare chance to see and hear a collection of DIY 7’’ records from international punk labels and artists of the period; situationist-informed prints produced at art school by Malcolm McLaren; limited edition Black Flag prints from the early 1980s by Raymond Pettibon; a Linder Sterling flyer for a 1978 Joy Division performance in Manchester; and six banners used to advertise The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, a 1980 ‘documentary’ film about the Sex Pistols, designed by Jamie Reid— whose cut-and-paste aesthetic became synonymous with the graphic imagery of the punk movement, particularly in the UK.