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The Graphics of Punk


In 1976 world was a very different place; we saw the first flight of the Concorde, the first NASA space shuttle, the formation of a small computer company called Apple, and the amalgamation of an anti-establishment movement called punk. 40 years on we’re still feeling the impact of all those things, but Punk has left a lasting cultural impact, particularly on the grey and gritty streets of London. Whilst the music, fashion and attitude have gone down into the annals of history – as is often shown by the abundance of Ramones t-shirts worn un-ironically by fresh-faced food insta-personalities and droopy eyed pop stars – the design elements of the era are generally overlooked. As part of a year of activity celebrating punk’s momentous impact, a new exhibition explores the visual paraphernalia, including record sleeves, posters and insignia, that channelled the agitation of the time. Interestingly the underground magazines now seem ahead of their time, shirking the establishment for the more progressive and outrageous agendas pushing squatters, immigration, and abortion. Many of the DIY publications ended jumping the shark however into full blown anarchist rhetoric. The location of this exhibition is particularly ironic, a museum perhaps not known for its countercultural values – The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. Not sure this is what the Sex Pistols quite had in mind when they wrote Anarchy in the UK, but who’s to know for sure.

Where: Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, 111-117 Lancaster Road, W11 1QT

Travel: Ladbroke Grove tube

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