exhibition

Punk Is Coming

Punk is Coming was a diverse group exhibition featuring over 50 photographers, filmmakers and artists whose work defined the punk era in the 1970’s in New York City, London, Los Angeles and other cities around the world. The exhibition included rare, never-before-seen videos and photographs, as well as artworks created by the punk era’s musicians and contemporary works heavily influenced by the movement.

Punk is Coming was on view at MoCA Westport from March 26 – June 5, 2022.

The exhibition was co-curated by Marian Schwindeman, Roberta Bayley, Liz Leggett (MoCA Westport Director of Exhibitions) and Ruth Mannes (Executive Director of MoCA Westport).

“To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are.”

— Patti Smith

The exhibition featured many world premieres including a film of the Patti Smith Group by Ivan Kral courtesy of Cindy Hudson Kral, as well as vintage footage by Merrill Aldighieri. Also featured was the original edit of the film The Blank Generation by Amos Poe and Ivan Kral. The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation generously provided the original edit of the short film Still Moving starring Patti Smith and directed by Robert Mapplethorpe.

Many of the iconic images and photographs and films in the exhibition were created by women from behind the scenes, including works from Roberta Bayley, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong, Sheila Rock, Merrill Aldighieri, and Ebet Roberts.

Visitors also went backstage at CBGB, the undisputed birthplace of punk in NYC, through original photographs and videos of the club. Punk is Coming also includes the premiere of a film of New Order’s first live performance. Art from David Johansen, Dee Dee Ramone, Patti Smith, and John (Rotten) Lyndon was also on display.

Since its rebellious inception in the 1970s, punk has always exhibited very intense forms of expression.

“As a cultural movement, punk is driven by a refusal to sell out, a desire to do it yourself, and counter-culture angst. Punk is about experimentation, individual liberty, and a rebellious spirit,” stated Ruth Mannes, Executive Director of MoCA Westport.

“It all went too far too fast………but the truth is Punk kicked up a lot of dust and it still sparkles.”

— Phil Strongman, author of Pretty Vacant

Punk is Coming also showcases contemporary art influenced by the punk era by Helmut Lang, Richard Prince, Alex Bag, Penny Slinger, Linder Sterling, Tony Hope, and more.

“For me, punk is about real feelings. It’s not about, ‘Yeah, I am a punk and I’m angry.’ That’s a lot of crap. It’s about loving the things that really matter…passion, heart, soul.”

— Joey Ramone

MoCA Westport is grateful to numerous artists, musicians and galleries for contributing to this exhibition, including Marian Schwindeman, Roberta Bayley, Jane Freidman and HOWL Gallery, and Sebastian Aldrete and TMPG/The Music Photo Gallery.

The Museum thanks Girlfriend Fund, R13 and Wealthspire Advisors for their generous support of Punk is Coming.

Featured Artists in Punk is Coming

Merrill Aldighieri, Amy Arbus, Emily Armstrong, William Badgley, Alex Bag, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roberta Bayley, Lynette Bean, Janette Beckman, Celeste Bell, Richard Butler, Beth Collar, Jayne County, Jim Fields, Jill Furmanovsky, Danny Garcia, Richard Hambleton, Duncan Hannah, Tony Hope, Pat Ivers, David Johansen, Kevin Kerslake, Cindy Hudson Kral, Ivan Kral, Helmut Lang, Jenny Lens, Linder, Judy Linn, John Lydon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Hans Neleman, Fabrika Ouch, Lisa Jane Persky, Amos Poe, Jamie Reid, Thebe Phetogo, Eileen Polk, Richard Prince, Dee Dee Ramone, Ruby Ray, Jamie Reid, Marcia Resnick, Ebet Roberts, Sheila Rock, Sue Rynski, Donna Santisi, Marian Schwindeman, Steven Sebring, Kate Simon, Penny Slinger, Patti Smith, Paul Sng, Julien Temple, Gail Thacker, Arturo Vega, and Sally Webster.

Images:

  1. “Ramones New York 1976.” Roberta Bayley. Photograph. Courtesy of the artist and TMPG Gallery.
  2. “Richard Hell and the Voidoids.” Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong. Video still. Courtesy of the artists.
  3. “Untitled.” Tony Hope. Acrylic, spray foam, resin on wood panel. 28.5 x 18 x 1.5 in. Courtesy von ammon co.
  4. “Patti Smith and Fred Sonic Smith.” Sue Rynski. Gelatin silver photograph. 30 x 40 cm. 1980.
  5. “Rat Trap.” Hans Neleman. Assemblage, mixed media construction. 36 x 28 x 8 in. 2015. Courtesy of the artist.