Today a visit to the immense and impressive music complex at the Parc de la Villette to see the exhibition Europunk @ the Cité de la Musique. Cité is a wonderful space hosting a musical instrument museum, concert, teaching and listening areas, a library and special exhibitions.
Europunk showcases the influences and output of punk music from 1976-1980 within the region. I believe this music in the EU emphasized style and image more than in America, and this is reflected in the show. After all we had no interested fashion, print publishing or graphics industry, nor a Svengali (McLaren), to push it forward as a commodity. This partially explains identifying the designers of the recordings and most of the posters, but in a show dedicated to music, not listing the names of the record company, band members, or manufactures numbers on the museum walls or in the publication. Creepy. They did manage to list the names of all the donors.
The look is quite good and a good solution to safely displaying a great deal of fragile ephemera in a cost effective manner – strong magnets to metal board. But here again, would you post a Matisse drawing with four metal bits on the quadrants? OK, Sniffin’ Glue is not a Fauve masterpiece, but the presentation disrespects the objects they present in a museum as art works. Punks can have it both ways, curators can’t.
So here’s a few of my ups and downs. No cassettes (important part of DIY movement and only access to any public at all by the truly indie music maker). Only one book of the era. Crass get a nice display, but ATV? Odd considering the space given to Sniffin’. Hey, if you display ‘The day the world turned Day-glo’ 45 by X-ray Spex, how about showing the sorta dayglo disc? (first 15,000 pressed in orange vinyl). Nice – the touchscreen computer ‘jukeboxes’ with country by country playlists – would be nice to see more of this material on the walls. A revelation for me was the graphics by the French collective Bazooka and that of Lulu Picasso.
Here’s the kicker; MY record from 1978, Punkappella, is in the show. So like some ‘anonymous’ female quilter I am not identified on the wall or in the book! My name is on the cover. My company name is on the cover. I suggest that anyone doing a show on music in the future consider a new invention that is a very nice research support tool; the Internet. Discogs, for one, insightfully describing Punkappella as, ‘A Persiflage On Punk.’ And by the way, I am not a European.
Show from Oct 15, 2013 – Jan 19, 2014. So if you’re a wannabe or remembering you’re wilder days you may or may not have lived, its 9E ($12.50, w/ some discounts and free days) to enter and 40E ($60) for the oversize paperbound catalog. I passed on the book, despite my interest in the material, because it is a picture book and does not contain a discography or properly identify ANY of the recordings.