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The Book Club - September to December 2010

Exhibition preview

FORTHCOMING exhibitions at the Book Club feature art and photography from Peter Anderson, PYMCA Streetstyle and Andy Willsher.

Then and There, Here and Now by Peter Anderson – September 1 to September 26.

Working closely with his subjects – many of whom have since become household names – Anderson’s photographs capture the energy of an era when music, fashion and politics first collided. It is a time that is still deeply influential today.

Anderson’s huge, five foot by four foot photographic prints currently sell alongside works by Warhol, Basquiat and Banksy. They reflect a fascination with what is now called “Urban Art” that started when the Royal College funded his first trip to New York, where he made iconic images of early hip-hop street style.

Then and There, Here and Now includes portraits – some never before seen – made while Anderson was a staff photographer at New Musical Express. The subjects represent a Who’s Who of music, including Madonna, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Tom Waits, Run DMC, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller and Blur’s Damon Albarn.

A young Bono stands with fists raised, ready to take on the world as it turned out. The Clash’s late Joe Strummer gazes intently into the lens in a haunting portrait taken on London train tracks.

Anderson’s work is concerned with energy, often translated into movement. Far from the careful, artful poses that often characterise the image-conscious 80s, these spontaneous shots reveal the sheer vitality of the era. In retrospect it becomes a blur of ideas.

From music, Anderson moved on to other areas. His portraits of film directors and actors, including Lindsay Anderson, Robert Altman and John Hurt have been the subject of an exhibition.

His shots of one of his heroes, J.G.Ballard, presage a Ballardian interest in the car as metaphor. Frieze magazine described a previous Anderson exhibition as “a passionate exploration of the world of high performance cars in which landscape, individuals and vehicles were joined in religious ecstasy.”

Some of this work will be shown at Then and There, Here and Now, together with more recent work that spans powerful portraits of young men serving in the armed forces, and photography of found objects made directly on old Devere and Lietz enlargers, in the experimental spirit of early art photography, characterised by Man Ray.

PYMCA presents Street Style by Ted Polhemus – Book Launch and Exhibition – September 30 to October 31.

Without the Hipsters, Teddy Boys, Beats, Rockabillies, Rude Boys, Mods, Surfers, Hippies, Punks, B-Boys, Ravers, Harajuku Girls – and all the other streetstyle originals – most of us would be left without anything to wear. But the sharp suits, leather jackets, jeans, kaftans, flares, DMs, slick locks and so forth are only the visible, tangible part of this legacy.

Oozing through the clothes, hairstyles, make-up and accessories is an attitude. An attitude which perhaps more than any other set the tone of life in the second half of the twentieth century and which shows no sign of dissipating in the twenty-first.

‘The Street’ is both the stage upon which this drama unfolds and the bottom line metaphor for all that is presumed to be real and happening in our world today. In the past, ‘Western Culture’ was most at ease and most recognisable within grand interiors. Today, as high culture has given way to popular culture in the 20th century’s most significant social revolution, it is the litmus test of ‘street credibility’ rather than that of class, which is crucial. If it won’t cut it on the corner, forget it.

This fully updated edition will feature nearly 100 extra pages with a four page bound insert, 5 new chapters, including over 250 compelling images, all packed into 224 devilishly stylish pages.

The Street Style exhibition and book launch will feature images from the book as well as showcasing a series of talks and discussions with Ted and guests about the past, present and future of Street Style and subcultural fashion.

PYMCA has become renowned for its street culture exhibitions, showcasing images from their extensive archive. Having already celebrated subcultures of Rave and Skinheads, Hip Hop and Taboo club scenes, their most recent exhibition Unordinary People was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall and was the venue’s most popular exhibition of 2009.

Andy Willsher Black and White Photographs – November 5 to December 31.

Growing up in Bedford, England, amongst like-minded music enthusiasts, Andy Willsher was strongly influenced by David Bowie as well as pretty much all of the Goth bands of the late 80’s at the time. Luckily for Willsher there was a small music venue in town where most of the [Goth] bands played.

“The perfect scenario”, I thought, “I’ll go along and take some pictures. So the likes of ‘Ghostdance’, ‘Zodiac Mindwarp’, ‘Fields of ‘The Nephilim’ (and many more people dressed in black throwing flour everywhere) started my portfolio”.

Willsher decided to ignore college and get a real job so he could afford the next Canon model he had been craving. Whilst working at Barclays Bank in the West End, he took a holiday to follow a band called ‘The Hollow Men’ around the far reaches of Scotland and Ireland.

“I decided from that point that this was the life for me. One step further down the line I was working in my local camera shop to try and gain some knowledge. I think it was around this time I started printing up my own pictures and sending them to the music press in the vain hope they’d want to use one”.

Finally that time did arrive and after a few shots had been published, Willsher received a phone call from NME Towers, “Do you fancy shooting ‘The Family Cat’ at a school in Crewe?”. Willsher continues to photograph for NME and his credits includes Jeff Buckley, Arthur Lee, U2, White Stripes plus many more iconic bands/artists.

Willsher’s work has captured the music culture of our times and this exhibition celebrates his 20 years in music and in photography – standing next to the other photographers who inspired him, such as Anton Corbijn, Ellen Von Unworth, Pennie Smith and Mick Rock.

Faris Badwan – Drawing a Straight Number Nine continues at the Book Club until August 29.