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‘Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk’ – exhibition in Philadelphia looks well worth a visit

Hello and welcome back to the blog on a relatively quiet day I suppose, the most annoying part of today is learning that Facebook may soon charge people (me) who run fan pages (like The Clash Blog one) just to post updates there to an existing audience. Hoping that it’s rumour and conjecture rather than fact as I won’t pay for a social media service, it’s not like I’m competing with Starbucks or the NME. It’s particularly irksome on the same day that Facebook announced quarterly profits of $523 million.

Speaking of Facebook if you don’t follow the blog there you may have missed the fact that The Baker has written an in depth piece about Camden Town and its subterranean history - the original Clash HQ at Rehearsal Rehearsals and much more besides. Well worth reading if you haven’t done so. The Baker is also now on Twitter so add him, tweet him and welcome him aboard if that’s your bag.

In other news I wanted to steer you in the direction of a rather tasty looking exhibition that is taking place in Philadelphia at the Moore College of Art and Design. The exhibition is called ‘Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk’ and takes place at the college from January 25th through until March 15th. Admission is free and the gallery is closed on Sundays and public holiday.

Moore is located at 1916 Race Street in Philadelphia – map available here. As the name implies the exhibition looks at the history of punk and post-punk graphic design and will include hundreds of flyers, posters, fanzines, record artwork and much more all from the unbelievable personal collection of Andrew Krivine. I really love so much of this art even if at times the presentation could be better than the music, but compared with the ultra-slick photo-shopped work that anyone with a mouse can churn out today the spirit of DIY anarchic art represented the high point of the format which has been in decline for years now. If I ever get organised enough to collect I can’t help feeling it would be fanzines, a true passion of mine.

x ray spex roundhouse andrew krivine 555x700  Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk   exhibition in Philadelphia looks well worth a visit

image from the personal collection of Andrew Krivine

The bigger names such as The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols all feature but also head along for the sheer diversity of work on display which I’ll refer you to the official blurb below to get your head around:

“Featuring several hundred works on loan from New York-based collector Andrew Krivine, the exhibition includes iconic works by some of the most illustrious graphic artists of the period, including Barney Bubbles, Malcolm Garrett, Raymond Pettibon, Jamie Reid, Peter Saville, Linder Sterling, Gee Vaucher and Arturo Vega, as well as pieces created by the hands of talented, yet anonymous, artists. Beyond the ‘holy trinity’ of punk – The Clash, The Ramones, and the Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant includes posters, flyers, handbills, record sleeves, badges and other graphic materials created for both iconic and obscure punk and post-punk bands, including: A Certain Ratio, The Adverts, The B-52s, Bauhaus, Blondie, the Buzzcocks, the Circle Jerks, The Cramps, The Cure, the Damned, Devo, Elvis Costello, The Fall, Fear, Gang of Four, Generation X, The Gun Club, Iggy Pop, The Jam, Joy Division, Killing Joke, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed, New Order, Public Image Limited, Sham 69, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Television and X-Ray Spex”


There’s also a great article about Krivine’s collection and history on the WXPN website, his personal collection is now consists of over 2,000 pieces of memorabilia dating back to ’76. When you learn about his roots it all makes a lot more sense.

I have no idea if photography is allowed but I do know a fair few of you read from the Philadephia area so I hope you can make it along over the coming weeks and report back if you would be so kind. Here is the official link to the exhibition and the college itself, enjoy yourself if you go.

Thanks for reading, more to follow tomorrow if all goes to plan.


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pixel  Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk   exhibition in Philadelphia looks well worth a visit

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