Punk: Sex, Seditionaries & the Sex Pistols: Urbis, Manchester 16 May-7August 2005

Punk: Sex, Seditionaries & the Sex Pistols left me a more than a little dissatisfied. It’s an exhibition of contradictions. It’s for people who already know what they’re looking at, but there’s too much text and way too much documentary footage (six and a half hours). It’s keen to present the wilful destruction of the established culture, but everything’s under glass. And there’s a bit too much Sex Pistols, although I know they’re in the title. Having said all that there are some real gems that demonstrate just how provocative punk was (and just how lite contemporary North American punk is). We’re offered images stolen from paedophile magazines, swastikas and homo-erotica on young girls’ dresses designed to make us an for the sake of being angry. And yes, handwritten lyrics and now fragile clothing should be protected but…

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