Book Corner #8: "Impresario": Malcolm MacLaren and the British New Wave"
photos: Corinne Stoll
The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of Californian culture all summer long. To trace the history of Orange County's punk scene, one needs to head back to the birthplace of punk: London, where Malcolm Maclaren was documenting the counter-culture scene in the style of a new kind of artist. "Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave" was an exhibition opened at the New Museum in 1988, and the catalogue is Angelo Cirimele's pick of the week.
"While passing the poster for the "Europunk" exhibition, which came to us in Paris from the V&A in London, I thought to myself that a museum was really the last place you would expect to see punks, whose counterculture is founded on the anti-establishment attitude. Then I came across this exhibition catalog devoted to Malcolm McLaren: the manager and creator of the Sex Pistols, former boyfriend and general partner-in-crime of Vivienne Westwood, the renowned designer and “mother” of punk. I absolutely relish the idea that the New Museum could, in 1988, dedicate an exhibition to someone who is not an artist but an artistic director. The museum curators finally grasped something: the act of putting together (mixing), highlighting (producing) and drawing attention to a movement was, in and of itself, the actual movement. This small catalog has a detailed chronology and contains many passages, including one by Dan Graham, who recounts this recent and enthralling history."
Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British new wave, Paul Taylor, 1988, 80 p. Ed. New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.
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