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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Punk Art History

Artworks from the European No Future Generation

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Punk Art History

Artworks from the European No Future Generation

A history of pop, pain, poetry, and presence within a “no future” generation in the 1970s that refused to be the next art world avant-garde.
The punk movement emerged during the mid-1970s, as young adults in the United Kingdom and Europe struggled to find steady employment. History was critical to the movement’s ethos. Punks rejected a narrative of supposed progress and prosperity, a rebuke evident in their visual art as well as their music. “No future,” the Sex Pistols sang, “there’s no future for you, no future for me.”
Punk Art History examines punk as an art movement, combining archival research, interviews, and art historical analysis. Marie Arleth Skov draws on personal interviews with punk art figures from London, New York, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Berlin, including Die Tödliche Doris (The Deadly Doris), members of Værkstedet Værst (The Workshop Called Worst), Nina Sten-Knudsen, Marc Miller, Diana Ozon, and Hugo Kaagman. The book also features email correspondence with Jon Savage, Anna Banana, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Many of these artists shared materials from their private archives with Skov, who examines a wide range of media: paintings, drawings, bricolages, collages, booklets, posters, zines, installations, sculptures, Super 8 mm films, documentation of performances and happenings, body art, and street art. She also discusses scandalous and spectacular public events like the Prostitution exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, which spurred walkouts and political debate with its graphic content, and Die Große Untergangsshow (The Grand Downfall Show) in West Berlin, a festival of “ingenious dilettantes.” Skov’s analysis reveals that punks saw themselves as the “rear-guards,” a rejection of the notion of progress inherent to the term “avant-garde.” After all, why would a “no future” movement want to lead the way for a culture they saw as doomed?

Lively and accessible, Punk Art History will captivate students and scholars of art, design, and performance history, as well as readers with an interest in punk, music, fashion, feminism, and urban histories.

350 pages | 103 color plates | 5 3/4 x 8 1/4

Global Punk Series

Art: European Art

Music: General Music

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Table of Contents


1 Prelude

1.1 What are we looking at? A punk art movement?

1.2 Negations, conflicts, and swindles: The elusiveness of punk

1.3 Case in point: The first Punk Art exhibition, 1978

1.4 Forty-five years of trying to capture the art in punk

2 Art Origins in the Story of Punk

2.1 The short version: From proto to post

2.2 Art school vs. hard school

2.3 Punk precursors: 1919, 1966, 1968

2.4 DIY: The DNA of punk

3 Pop Multiples, Camp Affirmations

3.1 Andy Warhol: "Hero of the Punks"

3.2 Hedonism as attack

3.3 Trash and travesty

4 The Weapons of the Underdog

4.1 Punk propaganda

4.2 Punk poetry

4.3 Crime as art, scandal as art

5 Art with No Future?

5.1 Originality and appropriation

5.2 Modernity in extremis

5.3 Avant-garde vs. rear-guard

6 Children Run Riot: The Art of the Infantile

6.1 Dead end kids

6.2 The Life of Sid Vicious: The sad, dead boy

6.3 "Infancy conforms to nobody"

7 Work vs. Play

7.1 Punk’s homo ludens

7.2 Ingenious dilletantes

7.3 The Baby Wagner Lullaby, or: Brilliance blackout


8.1 Queer punks and dykes in high heels

8.2 Defiant prostitutes, porn artists & well-dressed whores

8.3 Sadism and submission

8.4 Punk feminism: Vamp up!

9 Pain and Presence

9.1 Performances and punches

9.2 "It hurts and looks cool!": Fetish fashion

9.3 Real romance?

10 Dystopian with a Twist

10.1 It’s the end of the world

10.2 The Grand Downfall Show

10.3 Broken heroes, aces of failure

11 The Laws of the Lawless

List of Interviews and Archives




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