Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle at 58th St. & Eighth Ave.
Tuesday- Sunday through August 18, $12-$16 (eighteen and under free)
The whole punk aesthetic is a tough one to capture in a museum setting. The Met’s 2013 Costume Institute exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture” was roundly booed — despite huge crowds — for its haute approach to punk culture, the antithesis of DIY. Currently, the Museum of Sex’s “Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985” immerses attendees in the in-your-face sexuality and desire of punk music, language, and clothing, but it’s the Museum of Sex, which instantly scares away many art lovers. The Museum of Arts & Design gets things right with the superb “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986,” which continues at the Columbus Circle institution through August 18 (although some sections close August 11). Spread across two floors, the exhibit focuses on the DIY look and style of punk promotion, through album covers, advertisements, posters, zines, pins, flyers, and other ephemera. The show is divided into eight thematic sections, looking at typography, specific artists (such as Mark Mothersbaugh, Barney Bubbles, Neville Brody, Vaughan Oliver, Malcolm Garrett, and Peter Saville), political statements, sexual orientation, the influence of comic books and science fiction, and the New York scene.
Beginning with punk and extending into protopunk and New Wave, “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” highlights the graphic presentation and messaging of such seminal figures as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Black Flag, Blondie, Buzzcocks, the Smiths, Kraftwerk, Devo, Patti Smith, the Cramps, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Talking Heads, Joy Division, the Slits, and the Dead Kennedys. Rare archival photographs by Fred W. McDarrah, Danny Fields, Bob Gruen, David Godlis, and others accompany Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s audiovisual installation Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archive, featuring fab interviews with and/or about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Nico and the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Debbie Harry, Jim Carroll, and many others; in an adjoining room, a black-and-white film boasts live performances (with dubbed-in audio). Jamie Reid’s brash work with the Sex Pistols stands out, challenging the status quo and resulting in lawsuits for its appropriation of corporate logos. You can also create your own private playlist the old-fashioned way, picking through a few boxes of vinyl records and spinning them on one of two turntables, listening on bulky headphones. The majority of objects are on loan from collector and archivist Andrew Krivine; the exhibition, originally presented at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, is lovingly curated by Andrew Blauvelt and has been tweaked for the New York iteration. On August 8, MAD is hosting a pair of workshops, “Button Design with MAD Fellow Tamara Santibañez” (pay-what-you-wish, 6:00) and “Let's Draw with Mark Mothersbaugh!” ($15, 6:30).