Bozboz Presents...Punk Rock Nostalgia with Mal-One
Bozboz Presents... kicked off its creative events calendar last night with true punk panache, playing host to a private view for Mal-One and his mixed media homage to 'The Class of '76'.
The bold art on display and the vibrant crowd inthe gallery was a fitting tribute to a daring movement that vowed never to blend in, and in doing so changed the face of music and fashion forever.
The Class of ‘76
With the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ legendary Anarchy in the UK in the air, ‘The Class of ‘76’ is a reference to the Sex Pistols themselves, as well as a generation of disaffected teens who were inspired to turn pop culture on its head.
Dedicated followers of the Sex Pistols’ early London shows took up the band’s call to action and went on to form iconic groups such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Generation X, while The Buzzcocks, The Clash and The Damned soon made names for themselves as warm-up acts for the Sex Pistols.
While the exhibition focuses on these subculture heroes and the hype that surrounded them, the private viewing soon made it apparent that the 'Class of ‘76' moniker extends beyond the stars themselves, to the music lovers whose teenage years were defined by music and fashion the likes of which had never been experienced before.
Moving through the gallery, Mal-One’s intricate collage art was perfectly soundtracked by the musings of a multi-generational crowd, fondly reminiscing over favourite LPs and wild nights out.
Punk rock as a museum piece
The timing of the exhibition couldn’t be more of the moment, with news of Joe Corré’s £5m punk memorabilia bonfire drawing mixed reactions across the UK.
However, while Corré celebrates Anarchy in the UK’s big 4-0 with a typically punk rock act of destruction, Mal-One’s tribute is one that can live on to ignite excitement in future generations of music lovers.
Corré’s rationale for the controversial bonfire is that “rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a museum piece or a tribute act” - and indeed, much of the appeal of Mal-One’s work is in its carefully curated storytelling.
One particular piece, for example, entitled ‘Flogging Punk Rock’, is made up of cut and pasted newspaper adverts for punk albums, singles and live shows, all taken from the late ‘70s.
Taken individually, taglines such as “purchase new boots and panties” or “free sex & drugs & rock & roll” demonstrate a certain provocative wit. As a whole, however, the piece speaks clearly of an era where sex shocked - and shock sold.
While an innovative education may not have been what punks envisioned when they threw together bold logos and slogans, it would be a crime to deny the original punk movement its place in British history - and what better way to teach that history than in the words of the rebels themselves?
The art of destruction
That’s not to say that ‘The Class of ‘76’ shies away from punk’s intrinsically destructive nature.
After all, many of the pieces on display are mixed media collages, layering roughly cut-up segments of papers, posters and playbills in a striking ode to the thin line punk walks between creation and destruction.
More subtle, however, is the statement made by the Sex Pistols’ original plain black album sleeve for Anarchy in the UK, presented alongside a blown-up reproduction, showing the imprints left by the vinyl beneath the sleeve in clear detail.
While some record collectors may consider these scuffs and grooves ‘imperfections’, in this case they are an organically produced addition, becoming art in their own right.
This attention to detail speaks not only of the well-loved nature of legendary punk vinyl, but of punk’s particular penchant for turning what may be considered flaws into cutting-edge design.
Whether you’re a Class of ‘76 alumnus yourself, you’ve grown up with your parents’ punk collection, or you’re a more casual observer of the scene, it’s impossible to deny the impact that punk has had on popular culture.
Countless musical genres have stemmed from the brash, ballsy sounds of ‘76, including post punk, pop punk, gothic rock, new wave and hardcore.
So, too, have the bold and seemingly haphazard designs of the punk rock era influenced the fashion and art that we see all around us today.
While it’s safe to say that punk’s not dead, there is certainly something to be said for the spirit of that original era, bristling with pent up rebellion, that can never quite be replicated.
As an homage to that spirit, Mal-One’s lastingly iconic images serve to transport viewers back to a time when music was louder, fashion was wilder, and anarchy was in the UK.
Join the revolution
Following the success and excitement of the private viewing, we’re throwing our doors open to the public on Saturday 26th November from 10am until 4pm, and then every Tuesday and Wednesday between 2pm and 5pm.
Whether you’re looking for your own piece of punk rock history to take home, or you just fancy soaking up the innovative and energetic vibes of rock’s last great rebellion, drop by for a history lesson like you’ve never seen before!