Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk at Moore’s gallery

An issue of Punk Magazine from 1976, with a cover drawing by John Holmstrom, is part of  Andrew Krivine's collection at the Galleries at Moore.  Credit: Collection of Andrew Krivine
An issue of Punk Magazine from 1976, with a cover drawing by John Holmstrom, is part of Andrew Krivine’s collection at the Galleries at Moore.
Credit: Collection of Andrew Krivine

If a gallery were to show a collection of music paraphernalia in the form of posters, flyers, patches and buttons, the ’70s punk scene would offer plenty of artifacts. If the gallery wanted to include post-punk and New Wave artwork too, well, they might need a bigger venue. Thankfully, the Galleries at Moore, on the Parkway at the all-women Moore College of Art and Design, is a large enough space to take on the task.

Opening this Friday is Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk. The collection will include famous images, like artist Linder Sterling’s cover design of the Buzzcocks’ single “Orgasm Addict” and the safety-pinned Union Jack designs of Jamie Reid that are ubiquitous with the Sex Pistols. The show will also highlight lesser-known artists and plenty of anonymous creators of ‘zines and flyers.

Curator and director of the Galleries at Moore, Kaytie Johnson, looked no further than her own life for the show’s inspiration. The idea for the show came when Johnson was rifling through a box of old belongings and came across a few buttons and flyers. “I was part of the punk scene in the ’70s, so as a curator, this is the most personal show I’ve been involved with. I had to do very little research,” she says with a laugh. What she did have to do, however, was reach out to private collector Andrew Krivine, who provided each and every piece in the show. Krivine, who lives in New York, has been gracious enough to lend out hundreds of items from his personal stash of graphic punk memorabilia.

“Everything is from his collection,” explains Johnson. “I made the choices of what to put in the show because I had a curatorial framework in mind. I made several trips to New York, but it was a real pleasure. [Krivine] has thousands of pieces to look through, so it was very nostalgic for me.”

Cut and paste
The Galleries at Moore are open to the public, but you have to think that when planning a show, the students and their majors come into play. This one is sure to catch the eye of Moore’s graphic designers. “I’m excited for our students to see this,” says Johnson. “They’ll see what cut and paste really was, when there was no such thing as Photoshop. Punk design and punk music were the beginning of the DIY scene. There was an urgency and immediacy of it, and that comes across in the show.”

Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk
Jan. 24-March 15
Opening reception Jan. 24, 6-8 p.m.
1916 Race St.


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