Any music fan who ventured to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for last year’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” exhibit had to be dismayed to find the galvanic youth rebellion of the 1970s reduced to a high-fashion co-optation of punk’s do-it-yourself aesthetic. Not to mention that silly art-installation facsimile of the grungy CBGB bathroom.
But take heart, fans of the Clash, Ramones, and Sex Pistols, as well as the Cramps, Dead Boys, Circle Jerks, Buzzcocks, Blondie, Patti Smith, the Jam, X-Ray Spex, and so many more. “Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk,” the terrific exhibition that opened last week at the galleries at Moore College of Art and Design, is a joyously snot-nosed corrective.
“Pretty Vacant,” which takes its name from a song on the Sex Pistols’ 1977 debut, gathers more than 400 posters, flyers, fanzines, badges, and album art covers. It runs