Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Punk At The Met

Jordan in front of Malcolm McLaren's SEX shop
in London, where the Sex Pistols and punk were born

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a show opening tomorrow about punk fashion.  PUNK: Chaos to couture

From Anarchy Unleashed by Calvin Tomkins in The New Yorker:
"The Costume Institute owned some classic punk garments, acquired in 2006 when Bolton persuaded the Met’s trustees to buy the collection of an English post-punk rocker known as Adam Ant. ...  The Met had bought one or two items at auction, but the rest came from private clients, from Westwood, and from the Adam Ant collection. Both Westwood and Ant had preserved and archived pieces with great care, never doubting their historical value."

Oh, how I wish I could go.  Not just for the Adam Ant connection but because of punk itself.  The idea of one of the finest museums in the world celebrating punk as art is so wonderful it makes me want to weep.  One could certainly make the argument that the point of punk was the opposite of history, of museums and their collections and the type of person who is most likely to patronize a museum.  And that is true, it really is.  But the birth of punk was ART, more than anything else.  And fashion was an equally vital component to the music.  So many things that are completely commonplace today were a shocking, outrageous political (and artistic) statement in 1977: spiky hair, piercings, unusual colored hair, metal studs, chains, black lipstick, black nail polish.  Punk changed things.

Adam Ant, black leather and black kilt

Adam Ant performing in kabuki makeup,
black leather and tartan kilt

Adam Ant and punk fashion icon Jordan, wearing
makeup from the movie Jubilee

Adam and the Ants, pirate era