A major exhibition marking the heyday of punk will be held at Liverpool Central Library from Saturday 3 November 2018 to Sunday 13 January 2019. The exhibition was developed jointly by the British Library, Liverpool John Moores University, and Liverpool Libraries.
Punk 1976-78 is a free exhibition revealing the extraordinary impact punk had on music, fashion and design across the UK between 1976 and 1978.
It will explore punk’s roots in the French Situationist movement and New York City art-rock scene through to the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols, from their scandalous live appearance on early-evening TV programme Today to the furore around their alternative jubilee anthem ‘God Save the Queen’.
The exhibition will also consider how the culturally and socially explosive phenomenon of punk rapidly transformed Britain’s musical landscape, playing a pivotal role in the rise of the independent music scene and challenging the conventional image of women in rock bands.
Drawing on extensive archives held at the British Library and Liverpool John Moores University, the exhibition in Liverpool Central Library will feature a range of rare fanzines, unique flyers, exclusive audio recordings and original record sleeves.
Punk 1976-78 will also feature rare material from the UK’s biggest punk-related archive – held at Liverpool John Moores University – showcasing rare posters, ephemera and clothing from ‘England’s Dreaming: The Jon Savage Archive’, ‘The Pete Fulwell Archive’, ‘The Situationist International: John McCready Archive’, and ‘Adventures in Wonderland: The Falcon Stuart and X-Ray Spex Archive’.
Exhibition highlights include:
• Unique copies of fanzines from 1977 including the first punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue and the first and only edition of the Sex Pistols’ official fanzine, Anarchy in the UK.
• Original posters, gig tickets and flyers from the Roxy Club, Covent Garden and Eric’s Club, Liverpool.
• Original clothing from the SEX boutique run by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road, London.
• Photographic artworks Sex Pistols – April 1976 by PT Madden, and The Slits by Emma Harrison.
• Filmed interviews for Stories from the She Punks by Gina Birch, founding member of the Raincoats, and Helen Reddington of the Chefs.
• The Damned drummer Rat Scabies’s leather jacket.
• Sex Pistols’ handwritten set list and lyrics.
• John Peel’s personal copy of the Undertones’ single, Teenage Kicks.
There will be a special extended exhibition on the famous Liverpool club Eric’s which was the place to go in the city to see the early punk bands perform. This will include rare documents, contracts, artefacts and flyers.
You will also be able to listen to interviews and 100 punk singles from the period.
The exhibition is free to access at Liverpool Central Library on the 1st Floor (Hornby Library and Picton Reading Room). Please note that there is some adult content.
Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and cabinet member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon: ‘It is great to be able to mark this anniversary and to reflect on what happened in Liverpool at this exciting time. The range of material on display is fascinating and will bring memories flooding back to those who were there. It also shows a younger generation the impact which Punk had in such a short space of time and its continuing influence today.’
Colin Fallows, Curator and Professor of Sound and Visual Arts at LJMU, commented:
‘In contrast to the many two-dimensional media representations of punk, this exhibition explores and re-positions the radical thought and artistic practice of punk 1976-1978 through the presentation of primary source art and artefacts. The exhibition can be viewed as a kind of punk archaeology uncovering the ruins of the era – displaying rare and many previously unseen materials – and offering new understandings of the identity, appearance, artistic/social significance and legacy of the phenomenon.’
Andy Linehan, Curator of Popular Music at the British Library, commented: ‘Forty years ago punk had a huge impact on many aspects of British culture and continues to do so today, so we’re excited to dedicate an exhibition to it – featuring music, film, magazines and fanzines, record sleeves and more. Punk 1976-78 showcases the British Library’s unique collection of contemporary culture, as well as celebrating a phenomenon that spread across the nation and changed our cultural landscape.’