Museums

Getting Punked: Protesting the Met’s Decadent Appropriation

by Geraldine Visco on May 15, 2013

IMG_0008_4

A playful protest of the Costume Institute’s PUNK: From Chaos to Couture. (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has forgotten that clothes and fashion are not art. When you go to see the PUNK: Chaos to Couture exhibit, which opened on May 9 and runs until August 14, you may think you stumbled instead into a luxury couturier’s boutique. The outré fashions are fabulous and gorgeously displayed and there’s some badass soundtrack music by Jayne County, Suicide, and the Sex Pistols, but you can’t try on any of the clothing and in the end, you are only permitted to buy over-priced T-shirts in the gift shop. Dude, I see the couture, but where the hell is the CHAOS?

On Friday, May 10 at high noon, I organized “Punk OUT!” on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum, a protest of both the Punk exhibit and horrendously bourgeois Metropolitan Museum Gala. Our band of “punks” was composed of a ragtag dozen artists and performers from 21 to 58 years of age who’ve been inspired by or involved with punk music, fashion, and the lifestyle. There are no real punks and never have been, since once you call yourself a “punk,” you have become a yuppie in a T-shirt and black leather. Nonetheless, the punk lifestyle and art during the 1970s and 1980s was real and it is still an important influence in art, music, politics, and yes, fashion. We weren’t angry about the show, just disappointed that the Metropolitan Museum has become more and more corporate and less interested in documenting punk and what it has influenced in a serious, well-rounded way — recognizing that the punk aesthetic has always fought against commercialism and corporate culture.

A Punk OUT! protestor. (click to enlarge)

A Punk OUT! protestor lounging on the Met’s iconic steps. (click to enlarge)

Keep in mind that I adore the Met and often wander over there to soak up the atmosphere, hang out in the Temple of Dendur or frolic among the European Sculpture Court, fantasizing all the while that I am lounging in my living room. I was looking forward to the Costume Institute punk exhibit with excitement. In 2011, I enjoyed the magnificent McQueen show, which attracted approximately 700,000 visitors. However, I was extremely underwhelmed by the 2012 Schiaparelli and Prada show which was less successful and less imaginative. In fact, it was another example of curator Andrew Bolton, who has been with the Met since 2002, turning the museum into a boutique rather than a serious art show.

Prior to actually seeing PUNK: Chaos to Couture, the Costume Institute Gala set off a feeling of repugnance in me.  What fiend chose Beyoncé as the honorary chair of the Gala? Where the hell is Sid Vicious when you need him! Even worse, I wasn’t invited, which only reinforced the feeling that I’ve been hanging out with the wrong people lately. Then, there were the insanely pricey tickets, ranging from $10,000 per person to $250,000 for a table. The red carpet gala hoopla rivals the inanity of the Oscars red carpet gala, with breathless coverage of what various celebrities are wearing. Is that punk enough for you? At the very least, the red carpet gala should have featured a black carpet. The unfortunate emphasis on fashions on the red carpet has only been a phenomenon for the last few decades, although the earliest known reference to walking a red carpet in literature is in Aeschylus’s Agamemnon. His vengeful wife Clytemnestra offered him a red path to walk upon but Agamemnon was suspicious, knowing that only gods walk on such luxury. Why do Americans obsess over who wears what at these red carpet galas? Of course, as a mere attendee to a gala, is there really an obligation that you must copy the theme of the event or just look good?

Looking good.

Looking good.

The Gala was truly a tacky extravaganza, but the actual Costume Institute show itself is inherently flawed. Yes, the stated objective of the show, outlined in the foreword of the $45 book about the exhibit, is “punk’s enduring influence on high fashion,” and “haute couture’s appropriation of punk’s avant-garde ideology.” The emphasis is heavy on expensive fashion and light on the punk originals. From the 90 outfits of the show, many of which are admittedly breathtaking, at least 60 are from 2006 or later, high priced couture pieces. The exhibit’s book at least juxtaposes the original punk outfits, most of which are DIY, next to the couture piece inspired by it. The galleries of the Met show are arranged by an assortment of do-it-yourself materials or techniques, such as hardware, bricolage (garbage and trash culture), graffiti and agitprop, and destroy. It’s an interesting way to divide up the techniques of punk fashion, but how much better would it have been had they provided more original pieces or something that would show us how it all began.

Hanging out at Punk OUT!

Hanging out at Punk OUT! (click to enlarge)

A museum has an obligation to provide a historical basis for their exhibits and a context.  With most of the clothing displayed costing in the thousands, there is no feeling of how the pioneers of punk originated these styles.  Most visitors will have absolutely no clue about what punk is or why it became so popular. It may inspire visitors to throw on a pair of fishnets when they get home or tease out their hair, but where are the punks and who were they? You will not find out by visiting the Punk exhibit. You will, however, discover that the couturiers loved to appropriate and copy their revolutionary and extravagant designs. I’m sorry, but that’s just not enough for me.

Many of my friends from New York City during the ’70s and ’80s are dead (from drugs or AIDS) or have left NYC. New York City today has become a world of gentrification, corporate culture, and commercialization, which began with the Republican regime of Giuliani and continued with Mayor Bloomberg. PUNK: Chaos to Couture is a prime example of how our culture has become a giant mall.

The author, in 1977, wearing a Vivienne Westwood shirt. (photograph by Bobby Busnach)

The author, in 1977, wearing a Vivienne Westwood shirt. (photograph by Bobby Busnach) (click to enlarge)

I myself landed on the gritty sidewalks of New York City from the cushy suburbs of Boston in 1974, the year that punk was reputedly born here. Although I’m a lifetime uptown bitch, I frequented the various temples of punk from CBGBs to the Mudd Club, went to the shows and bought the punked out fashions at Trash & Vaudeville and Ian’s, so I grew up with the punk aesthetic all around me. Anyone who was present on the scene during the punk era of the 1970s and 1980s would have to object to this commercialized and sanitized version of a revolutionary movement.

There was much criticism of the recreated CBGB lavatory being too clean, but far more objectionable to me is the supposed replication of the Vivienne Westwood-Malcolm McLaren King’s Road boutique SEX/Seditionaries. I went to the SEX shop in London in the late 1970s and it looked nothing like the sterile Met version, which resembles a modern retail operation such as Banana Republic or Urban Outfitters. They display some of the original protest T-shirts with a backdrop of banal boutique fixtures without one iota of rebelliousness or authenticity.

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The Met’s recreation of the CBGB bathrooms: nauseatingly clean.

In the coffee-table art book accompanying the exhibit, curator Andrew Bolton has included interesting essays by John Lydon, Jon Savage, and Richard Hell, father of punk, who eloquently expresses what is precisely the problem with the Met’s show.  “But clothes themselves, no matter how beautiful or interesting are not great art; they remain decoration unless they’re actually worn, vivified into soul plumage, by an artiste of personal appearance … There’s something inherently sad about clothes in themselves, and fashion, no matter how lovely or effective. Clothes are empty.”  Yes, that’s precisely what is wrong with PUNK: Chaos to Couture. It’s full of couture, not chaos. It’s mere clothing, not art.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture continues at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side, Manhattan) through August 14.

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  • seeldee

    The whole article is a rambling, shambling jumble of words in need of focus.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      So, you’re saying it is “punk.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

        In fact, “rambling”, “shambling” is the rather the opposite of the Punk Rock aesthetic….

        • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

          No it isn’t, honey. Oh, I forgot, you’re the expert?

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

            Certainly don’t hold any claim on being “THE” expert, but I have been a lifelong fan. SInce the music came first and the fashion, movement, and whatever other B.S. came later, I maintain the ‘punk aesthetic’ is neither “Rambling” or “Shambling”. It was a distinct and clear repudiation of the “rambling” and “shambling” that was otherwise pervasive in the popular and rock music of the era. (….for example, “RAMONES” clocks in @ 29:04 for 14 tracks) You and Hrag might want to look up both “rambling” and “shambling” in the dictionary, “honey”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            The problem is that Seeldee has misused the words “rambling” and “shambling.” Both Hrag and I use our dictionaries religiously, the old fashioned kind. But I would say that punk aesthetic includes piercing, rambling, shredding, breaking, and shambling. Punk as an aesthetic plays with the opposite, so being precise and focused might be punk, but rambling might be more punk. But not in a slow boring way.

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

            So, in other words, the REALLY PUNK thing to do would to have shown up at the MET dressed in Izod and khakis. Boat shoes perhaps?
            Seeldee’s use/misuse is actually not relevant. I was responding to Hrag’s snappy attempt to be clever (FAIL).

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            Hrag IS very clever and I agree with him. I like your idea about showing up to the Met dressed in Izod, khakis, and boat shoes! I hope you join us at the next Met Punk Out! dressed as a yuppie. But I still say that rambling and shambling can definitely be punk. Ever hear the band Suicide?! Or see Johnny Rotten perform?! I have and they are freaking rambling shambling punks!!! But anyway, get that outfit ready and let’s PUNK OUT at the Met!!

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            Let’s not forget that many people who have been called punks — think Johnny Thunders, for one — used heroin which is why they are dead now. The LES was strewn with junkies strung out on the sidewalks (one reason I lived uptown!). When someone takes heroin, they most DEFINITELY ramble and shamble and they’re on the nod!

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

            Thanks for the invite, but if I drag myself up to the Met it’s for the art. This show is silly, the only thing sillier to me is your indignation about it. But clearly, YOU are “the expert”….in your mind anyway. I just don’t share your fixation with the trappings of (some segments of) ‘punk culture’, i.e. the fashion, the drugs. I’m in it for the music.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            I never claim to be an expert. I am merely a citizen of NYC who wanted a more comprehensive show and I have a right to that opinion. I am not in the slightest indignant about this show, darling. As I mentioned very clearly, I enjoyed aspects of it. I am indignant about people not having enough money to pay their rent, or dying, or hurting animals. You go see the show and you have your opinion. No problem with that but don’t attack people for analyzing what is in front of their eyes and for expressing themselves. It’s called writing!!! I do not have a fixation with anything, I enjoy all sorts of fashions and music. Not drugs, that’s for sure.

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

            Then maybe go protest one of the aforementioned gross injustices in the world. The protest, and your ensuing responses, embody the shallow read of the “PUNK” script that the show seems to follow: all style, no substance. GABBA GABBA.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            I do NOT agree. Hyperallergic is an ART BLOG and we have the right to be concerned about art and history. I have done plenty for other injustices but I don’t need you to tell me what I should do. Thank you. I can guarantee when we meet on the steps of the Met, you will discover I have LOTS of substance and LOTS of style. And a lot of people even like me!!

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

            WOW. Don’t worry, I have no interest in telling you what to do. You are hyperdefensive and so it is fitting for you to post on Hyperallergic, I suppose. I guarantee we won’t meet on the steps of the Met, it is nothing personal, I can assure you. You have taken each of my comments as a personal attack. It is bizarre to me, but seems pretty run-of-the-mill in the bloggysphere. And, you’re welcome.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            I’m not at all hyperdefensive. I’m just very talkative and I like to respond. Maybe I should shut my mouth more often! I don’t take everything you say as a personal attack but some of the comments by some of the people indicate not paying close enough attention to what I’m saying. But c’est la vie!

          • seeldee

            No, no. I chose those words carefully. ;)

      • seeldee

        Ha! Yeah, I guess I might be? I dunno; the article was entertaining to read but it was all over the place. There’s a great essay in there somewhere, for sure.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      Oh really?! (fake person with no photo) Your SENTENCE is rambling and shambling. HA HA!

      • seeldee

        What are you talking about? That avatar actually IS me!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      I suggest you take some lessons in how to read since there is NOTHING rambling about this piece.

      • seeldee

        I could respond with “I’ll learn how to read when you learn how to write,” but I wouldn’t actually mean that (but what a great grade-school comeback, right?). Sorry if my impression of your article struck a nerve. I posted it mostly because I felt like I was reading something that had the potential to be really great but just wasn’t there yet. That’s what happens with personal essays – it’s the tone of the writer that’s most important, not just the content. Oh well.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

          Sorry, honey. I wish I could please you more but this is one of thousands of articles I’ve written. I’d say some of the OTHERS might have lacked focus but I don’t feel that’s the case here. It’s a pretty straightforward matter. I liked the Met show but felt it was too commercial and didn’t give enough sense of the original fashions the couturiers copied. And ironically, commercialism is something despised by people who created punk-like fashion, art, music, zines, and literature. I’m sure you’re great, so sorry I fought back! As for me learning how to write, I know how. I won’t bother listing my credentials but I’ve worked very hard in terms of writing and continue to do so.

  • samktg

    “[C]lothes and fashion are not art.” Why not? Or maybe I should ask, what media/practices are art in what contexts? I can’t help but read a sort of hierarchization into the former statement, and i have a suspicion that this hierarchy of media/practice happened to also play a role in why “Punk: Chaos to Couture” missed the mark.

    • thom thom

      I don’t know what you are talking about with “media/practice” but fashion isn’t art because it doesn’t have to be and why would it want to be. It wouldn’t be gaining some elevated status if it was called art. You can call it art if you want. It won’t be though.

      • samktg

        You’ve misunderstood. I have no interest in “elevating” fashion. I’m far more interested in doing away with the hierarchy of (primarily) visual cultures which privilege a particular set of media, practices, and producers (as well as a particular audience and group of institutions) under the heading of “art” over other sets which circulate among much wider swaths of humanity. Fashion is not art, and attempts to treat it as art will necessarily produce misunderstanding, as with this show at the Met.

  • thom thom

    I like this article and think it’s pretty funny.But those overpriced books they sell to accompany exhibitions always do a good job of summarizing what the exhibition is about. In this case they were titled “punk’s enduring influence on high fashion,” and “haute couture’s appropriation of punk’s avant-garde ideology”, like you said.
    So why did you expect something different from this exhibition?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      I expect a museum to show a background, history, or something more profound than beautifully displaying fashion, which is what you can find in a luxury boutique. Showing modern fashion companies appropriating the past is not sufficient for a museum exhibit. It smacks of sponsorship and the typical tendency nowadays to commercialize everything. What most surprises me is that they don’t allow us to buy the fashions.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

        Even at the FIT costume shows they provide more of a context and theme. As a fashionista, clothing is my life and certainly fashion design is AN art, but just displaying a bunch of clothes is not enough. At the McQueen exhibit, there was a context and you understood him as a designer. Here there is no feeling of who the punks were or why these DIY fashions came about.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

          Wait….I thought you said, “There are no real punks and never have been…”

          • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

            Semantics, darling. Punks are like hippies. There are many people who have lived the lifestyle, but it is a word invented by social critics and the media. I might more precisely say the “punk movement.” Anyway, my point is that there is not enough sense in the exhibit of how these DIY fashions arose in the 1970s and 1980s and who were the people who created them and why.

      • thom thom

        You are bothered about the objects being commercialized but want to be allowed to buy them?

  • Janene Rivera

    Great article! truly expresses the loss of NYC culture due to politics.

    • http://democrab.com democrab

      Yes, I would totally return to the crack-fueled murder-ridden pre-late-90’s if it meant that NYC still had its “vibrant sense of uniqueness.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/GabeTheVirginQueen Gabe Fuller

        Incase you didn’t notice there’s still the crack-fueled murder without the “vibrant sense of uniqueness”. May as well have both.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      I personally think the uniqueness has changed, just like NYC. Think if how radically different NYC has been in each era. It’s the pleasure of New York that the only constant is change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GabeTheVirginQueen Gabe Fuller

    I’m just curious as to what the negative commenters think they are going to gain from insulting the article and the protest. It’s making it all the more relevant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ms.monicaloren Monica Loren

    Very brave and fabulous protest by a New York City Legend!. I enjoyed reading this refreshing, outspoken, witty and authentic article that provokes you to think about the current state of American Pop Culture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=618285057 Alan Bindler

    “It’s an interesting way to divide up the techniques of punk fashion, but how
    much better would it have been had they provided more original pieces
    or something that would show us how it all began… A museum has an
    obligation to provide a historical basis for their exhibits and a
    context. With most of the clothing displayed costing in the thousands,
    there is no feeling of how the pioneers of punk originated these styles.
    Most visitors will have absolutely no clue about what punk is or why
    it became so popular.” YES!!! Thank you, Gerri… Hammer, meet nail
    head

  • http://www.facebook.com/rew.starr Rew Starr

    well said… & i just heard Gwenyth say the GALA sucked & it was ridiculous seeing celebs ‘dress up punk’ she said ‘ aren’t we too old for this.. it was too crowded too hot.. tooo drama…” the whole thing is just funny to me.. & this article truly sumz up the essence of the culture not the couture.. yes the garbage bag fashion was amazing.. & so were the high high high fashion{Maybe we should have been high to see it {Hehe}.. but i don’t think there was even any leopard or animal print anything… i play in a band w/ BiLLy FiCCa{TELEVISION} & i was so happy they were mentioned… along w/ JaYNE COUNTY.. but so much of it as said here was lost in the fashion..move to the left.. PUNK was an anti fashion movement that became mainstream which is exactly what happens in the fashion world..they recreate from the ones with flair & passion…it was more than fashion & i saw not one reference to ‘the Great RoCK N RoLL SWiNDLE’..ala Malcolm MacCLaren

  • http://twitter.com/dylanschenker da.

    I once got into an argument with a friend who didn’t listen to a whole lot of music many would agree fell under the “punk” umbrella.

    I tried to argue with him that bands like Dinosaur Jr or the Minutemen or the Replacements were punk but he was like NO *this* is what punk is/sounds like.

    Later in the day we asked a third friend, “what’s punk?”

    His response? Bounced in place and headbanged.

    You’re just as guilty of the Met’s appropriation of their idea of punk by identifying and appraising so strictly what “punk” is according to your experience and your perception of its history. Even if your experience is more in line with the actual emergence of the scene identifying it as such and saying “this and only this” can ever be punk defeats what you are trying to defend. It’s like the dumb idiot who wrote American Hardcore who said hardcore died in 86 or something.

    Saying this or that is or is not punk is stupid. Which partially invalidates my argument but whatever I don’t care.

    The only thing I think that approximates what I am trying to say is the conversation between Marge and Homer and Lisa and Bart at the end of the Homerpalooza episode but replace the word “cool” with “punk”. Actually that whole episode is punk.

    Whatever, you’re dumb, I’m dumb, I am a stupid idiot and this is a stupid argument, I already hate myself for saying anything.

    • http://twitter.com/dylanschenker da.

      eat my shorts

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      It doesn’t really matter what punk is. Strict definitions of any group of people in history is fake. Just show us some influences and participants and history!

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.ketchum Steven Ketchum

    Is it discomforting for anyone else when the author combats reader comments? Some discourse with the community is GREAT and useful, but when it’s 50% reader, 50% author reaction…is there something wrong?

    And is trying to define “punk” as much of a nonstarter as “is punk dead”? The concept of Punk Out doesn’t appear inherently more dangerous or rebellious as anything else. A visitor might confuse you with a viral campaign from the Met to promote the show.

    The Met’s exhibition seems more of a reflection of the culture and times we are in now than what it was. New York City is no longer the hazardous crime-plagued shit-hole that gave birth to “The Blank Generation”. If you long for those days, accept their passing. Or perhaps take Patti Smith’s advice from 2010:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/patti-smith-to-artists-do_n_560794.html

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      Ha ha! Sorry that I’m so pro-active, Steven. It’s just my way. I like the idea that the Met used us to campaign. If only!! It was just a fun party we staged for the straight tourists. By the way, you are awfully cute and I agree with your last paragraph.

    • gerryvisco

      I might add that the responsibility of a museum (and this is in my article but you obviously skimmed through it) is to show a historical breadth of vision, not to promote current day fashion. Ha ha. That’s kind of like payola for fashion, honey and I’m AGAINST that. The show had some visual pleasure but I want some depth in a Metropolitan Museum show and eliding the ruffians from punk is NOT the way to show us what punk means/meant. And last point: I AM a punk and I will fight for the right to PARTY (Punk OUT) and punk out readers who have bourgeois reactions and want a bland show, so much in keeping with the current malaise in our society. PUNK YOU!!!

  • Louis Jordan

    Wonderful article. I don’t know what these spoil-sport trolls are going on about. I think the piece really articulates the problems with MOMA’s punk exhibit– how can you show punk-influenced couture without acknowledging its influences? They’re honoring appropriation, not innovation. A lot of people have taken issue with this show, but I’m glad to see an article by someone who not only has punk cred, but understands that punk doesn’t just happen when you rip an angora sweater– it’s about the attitude behind the clothes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

      The show is at the MET dude.

  • Monica

    I’m happy a mutual friend sent me your post as this was a thoughtfully written commentary and I agree with many (however not all) ideas that were presented. Context is crucial to a true understanding so if the exhibition is in fact missing the individual humanity and the cultural background it is challenging to have it be more than a window display. I would be remiss not to note that I have written a book on Punk Style, due out on Berg/Bloomsbury publishers in Nov/Dec and spent many years and crossed continents doing research and getting first hand takes from people who align with punk and its history thru to the present, not just the high fashion end. Some of which noted to me they were surprised their voices were not represented in the MET’s take on things. Based on all of the critiques of the current exhibition, I hope readers will find my book and its participants do a more thorough job of showcasing what composes the punk aesthetic. In the meantime I’ve got some journal articles and book chapters on the subject that can be Googled and perhaps will add some depth for exhibition viewers who were left questioning. Enjoyed your article!

  • http://twitter.com/trystantrazon Trystan Trazon

    I’ve always felt that defining punk as an “art movement” admits self-defeat. But if The Met were featuring say The Harlem Renaissance, you can bet the artifacts would be more well-rounded than flapper wigs and a string of pearls around a trumpet. This is largely because “punk” is still a cultural aspiration (with or without Richard Hell) and so I imagine the idea of putting anything with the spirit of insurrectionary youth into one of the most frequented museums in the world is automatically going to be pretty foul.

    Having said that, it looks like a fun event last Friday and I wish I was there. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

    None of you BOZOS (and I am using that word LITERALLY) even commented on the lovely photo by Bobby Busnach of me in the 1970s wearing the Vivienne Westwood Tom of Finland shirt that got her and Malcolm McLaren arrested. Wake up, punks!!

    • http://twitter.com/josephkeckler Joseph Keckler

      Pardon me, but I can’t help but notice the striking Busnach portrait of the author that accompanies this article. I know I speak for all of us readers when I remark that GV truly does appear quite comely & chic in this historic image.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.kearns.353 David Kearns

      You really are an attention needy person, eh?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

        No, I have PUNK ATTITUDE, buster!

    • MaXi

      Stellar!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shawn.chapman.9026 Shawn Chapman

    Punk posuers. I didn’t see one safety pin in the whole crowd.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      You sure didn’t look too hard, honey. One of the lasses had an entire skirt made of safety pins. They call that “DIY”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerry-Visco/100002704191134 Gerry Visco
  • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.starrs1 Christopher Starrs

    Geraldine Visco is a wonderfully exacting in this article. Yes, a NYC citizen and a true, living, legend herself. To my knowledge, Visco wanted more clarification at this MET gala. What the general media portayed, is something more like the ‘Hollywood Punk’ MET gala. Nothing really reflected CBGB’s grit or Sid and Nancy, or Nina Hagan for that matter. To focus on word usage in this article, at the end of the day carries no weight. I believe it is the organizations obligation to present something, like this gala, with a historical basis and context. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      YES!! Finally some sanity here!

  • http://twitter.com/dreamlndinsrgnt dreamlandinsurgents

    Punk and art are totally incompatible. Art is hung in a gallery. Punk is dug outta the trash. Each is fine for what it is but trying to put punk in a museum is like tossing a Van Gough in the trash. Bad move.

    Alllllsooo … to recognize the history of punk would be to explain its counterculture ideas … to put it in context would be to talk of a cultural insurrection. In tenuous times like these, what major cultural institution is going to entertain a history directly adverse to its own interests?? It might give people “ideas,” and god forbid americans be exposed to “ideas.” No, sir. That’s undemocratic.

    • gerryvisco

      TOTALLY disagree with you, darling. Museums have an obligation to demonstrate and explain HISTORY. Punk has some current proponents but this show states that it is giving us how the so-called punk movement of the 70s and 80s influenced fashion. Well, let the brilliant curators at the Met do a little more work and show us how this happened rather than just exhibit a bunch of expensive designs from couturiers. Actually, the book does a far better job of documenting both couture influenced by punk and the punks themselves. The same curator did a superior job with the Alexander McQueen exhibit. He should not just rest on his laurels and put forth a show that lazily is a latent advertisement.

      • spark/es

        It is your punk-rock perogative to disagree, darling ;) Yeah, I think the function of museums is to demonstrate history, but let them do ANY work. You’re not disagreeing with me all that much, it sounds like we both agree they’re just exhibiting expensive designs. But, how about this – punk was really a rejection of bougie, middle-class culture. A response to the mutually-assured destruction brought into possibility by The Man. One popular motto was “No Future.” One thing the Met is attempting (however unconsciously, since it’s an institution, not a person, so look at the social function, maybe) is to reappropriate the styles of punk and demote it into nothing more than a fashion statement. It was much, much more, and less. Agree?

        • gerryvisco

          Yes, I definitely agree. But still, as a long time resident of NYC, I expect a little more from the Met which often can wow us with a really great show. I’m happy they took this show on, but they didn’t finish the job. It’s like a painting where the artist decided to take a break and never finished. And since punk is not just a fashion movement but a state of mind and art, how much more could they have done to show the world — some of whom really don’t know much about punk or that sensibility, judging by some of the naive comments of museum-goers — how punk changed the aesthetic scene. They absolutely have a few elements, but in my opinion, they would have needed to show more of the original proponents and pioneers of punk in order for the museum goers to understand why these designers enthusiastically adopted this aesthetic. But anyway, I think our viewpoints are similar. Our main disagreement is with your earlier point that museums couldn’t possibly explain and show the punk art and sensibility. Why the hell not? That’s their job, no matter how revolutionary or far fetched the subjects may be. As archivists, we need to document what happened and try to understand why no matter how extreme the art may be. Thanks for responding!! xoxo

          • spark/es

            I do admit I’m not a resident of NYC so I’m only speaking in abstractions. Still, I don’t have a lot of faith in museums on the whole. Maybe the Met is better on average, and maybe they have a really good director right now. But, speaking on the whole (or trying to), museums deprive things of their context by removing them and setting them in an “objective” space. Maybe less so with this kind of function. But punk really does best when it’s trying NOT to get nailed down by definitions, you know – sort of an every human for themselves, anarchist-y aesthetic. So from that angle, I think the Met did more by encouraging the “real” punks to show up in their home-made regalia than it did by putting on its exhibit. But that’s speaking from a remove of time and space, for sure.

  • R. Emora

    Knock knock. Who’s there? Hollywood punk. Fuck-off poser.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      Rude crude NOBODY. Goodbye, loser!

      • http://www.saatchionline.com/art/Sculpture-Found-Objects-ARP/338230/1401545/view R. Emora

        not sure why you think I was addressing you because I wasn’t. just summing up the general reaction to the show.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gerry.Visco Geraldine Winifred Visco

      YOU the fake poser. Five minutes with me and you’ll be on your knees, honey.

  • gerryvisco

    You wouldn’t know punk rock if it hit you in the face and maybe it should!

    • MaXi

      Evoking this kind of reaction is Exactly PuNk!

      • MaXi

        or is it invoking?

  • gerryvisco

    It’s called ACCURACY and being a critic rather than a follower. DUH!

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