Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die - Punk Graphics, 1976-1986

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986, on view at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) from April 9 through August 18, will explore the punk and post-punk movements through the lens of graphic design. The exhibition will feature more than four hundred of punk's most memorable graphics, including flyers, posters, album covers, promotions, zines, and other ephemera.

"Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die charts punk's explosive impact on design and examines its complex relationship with art, history, and culture," commented Chris Scoates, MAD's Nanette L. Laitman Director. "Punk questioned everything, and it's that spirit of inquiry that is driving MAD forward today, presenting and debating innovative works and ideas with lots of energy, color, and noise."

Originating at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan's Cranbrook Art Museum, the exhibition has been adapted for its run at MAD to include selections that showcase the visual output of New York City's punk scene: flyers from the famed East Village punk venue CBGB; concert posters and memorabilia from Blondie, the Ramones, and other artists; early issues of Punk magazine; and more.

"Since its rebellious inception in the 1970s, punk has always exhibited very visual forms of expression," said Andrew Blauvelt, Director of Cranbrook Art Museum and Curator-at-Large for Design at MAD. "From the dress and hairstyles of its devotees and the onstage theatrics of its musicians to the design of its numerous forms of printed matter, punk's energy coalesced into a powerful subcultural phenomenon that transcended music to affect other fields such as visual art, fashion, and graphic design."

Arranged thematically, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die examines a variety of visual design strategies, including parody and pastiche, and techniques such as appropriation and collage. Further, it illuminates the influence of genres such as science fiction, horror, and comics on punk and post-punk graphics. The works on view move from the sobriety of a stripped-down, black-and-white minimalism to the expansive color palettes and expressive forms of New-Wave graphics.

Photo: PD Rearick; Courtesy of Cranbrook Art Museum

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