Art | June 02, 2021

Clash: Punk’s Influence on Contemporary Art

Kristine Somerville

Punk rock isn’t something you grow out of. Punk rock is an

attitude, and the essence of that attitude is “give us some truth.”

—Joe Strummer, the Clash


The punk movement burned bright for four years beginning with Television’s performance at CBGB in the Bowery in 1974 and then flaming out in 1978 with ex-Sex Pistol Sid Vicious’s murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen and his overdose four months later. During that brief period, there were iconic albums by the Clash and the Sex Pistols in London and the Ramones, Patti Smith, and Suicide in New York. There was also the slashed, shredded, and zippered fashion of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, who crystalized and commercialized punk fashion at their boutique SEX at King’s Road.

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