Good day to you and thanks for dropping in. I cycled again today and now need a nap, but I won’t as that might defeat the purpose of the exercise. Sleep burns calories too though I’m sure. On to loftier topics then….
I’ve been sitting on the fence when it comes to this rather large and extremely well marketed (and thus talked about) exhibition just kicking off at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art - ‘PUNK: Chaos to Couture’. It wasn’t until I completed far more reading that I realised how large an exhibition this is and while on the surface it all sounds vulgar there is surely going to be something for everyone, in theory anyway. The vulgar can be found in the quotes from the ‘celebrities’ who attended the opening party, each in turn reducing punk to some trivial branding or label that mixed fun and cool in some sort of fashion(able) blend. Punk was never so vulgar as to sell safety pins adorned with pearls and t-shirts that cost the equivalent of a week’s groceries. I thought the scene which I was to arrive late to due to my year of birth was about anything but a predetermined look or style and certainly not means tested, no rules was half of the attraction for me and others I knew so it is very strange to see it reimagined as something very different.
Anyway, from the other side of the country and with no intention of attending the exhibition which runs from now until August 14, I am best left waiting to hear what some of you much nearer to New York think of it should you happen to attend. I’m sure we’ll all benefit from a viewpoint that doesn’t sound like a press release. For now though I thought I’d focus on the facts and by all means have a look at Google News and just type in ‘New York Punk Exhibition’ as there are dozens of previews from all sources. Instead let’s go on to the facts.
The exhibit apparently looks to trace the path of punk from a local nucleus of rebellion and boredom by kids in New York and London to a global and very high line of alternative fashion thirty odd years later. More than 100 designs are featured going back to McLaren and Vivienne Westwood creations all the way to the present day.
Seven individual galleries cover the history of punk’s impact with two dedicated to the New York and London of the 70′s respectively with the emphasis on CBGB’s along with the Kings Road own Seditionaries, if only from a historic perspective I’d like to see those galleries. The remainder is where things get more broad as the interpretation of the early days of punk is shown with features on the 80′s, 90′s and up to now. I’ve no idea how much or little will appeal to a fan of The Clash but hopefully the aspect of the music is well interfaced with the fashion elements, I can only hope so. Trying to be objective about the regurgitation/hijacking (?) of such ideas becomes increasingly difficult while at the same time I do believe the influence lingers on in many forms, most notably away from the arena of the music industry ironically. Is punk an inspiration in the modern world of fashion/style or a sign that new ideas are simply quite thin on the ground?
Some suggested reading below, but what I hope most is to hear from anyone who goes along to the exhibition itself. Please convince me it’s not destined to be the most contrived punk-related exhibit ever, I mean Anne Hathaway and Beyonce at the opening gala, $100 ‘Climate Revolution’ t-shirts? Surely some mistake. Is this just a money spinner for the fashion industry or a genuine homage? Essentially I’m finding it all pretty repulsive and cash-laden but don’t want to ignore that it is taking place and will be notable for some good reasons too I hope. Read more below to get a proper flavour, but highly recommended is this piece in The Daily Beast.
Reviews and Previews:
This sums it all up, ‘So antiseptic that it doesn’t have anything to do with…the late 70′s’