More than any movement before or since, Punk was defined by the poster.
Excluded from TV and daytime radio, struggling to be heard in the mainstream press, posters provided an effective – and virtually free – means for bands to reach the public.
LOUD FLASH is a unique exhibition of posters curated by the artist and designer Toby Mott. His collection, which also incorporates fanzines, flyers and other ephemera, delivers a gripping snapshot of the Britain of that time, a country rife with divisions which was slowly awakening to the reality of its reduced status in the post-war world.
As well as iconic works by Jamie Reid (for the Sex Pistols) and Linder Sterling (for the Buzzcocks), the exhibition features a wealth of material produced by anonymous artists of the era and so offers a complete survey of the punk aesthetic. It also includes political material.
The rise of the National Front is charted through its incendiary propaganda, while the posters advertising ‘Rock Against Racism’ events show how this was opposed and how the designers adopted punk as stark graphical styles to entice young supporters.
Alongside this, Mott, who has collected more than 1000 punk-related artefacts over a period of 30 years, has also included patriotic memorabilia from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, which collided with the height of the punk explosion in 1977.
Published on the occasion of the exhibition LOUD FLASH: British Punk on Paper at Haunch of Venison, London, 24 September – 30 October 2010.