Art gets angry at Birmingham City University’s Punk Rock!! So What? exhibition

Author: Stacey BarnfieldPublished:

‘In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you’, snarled Paul Weller for the opening line of his era-defining band’s debut single.

One of those thousand things Weller should be screaming is get along to Birmingham City University’s Parkside building to check out the brilliant ‘Punk Rock!! So What?’ installation.

Punk art

Punk Rock!! So What? At Birmingham City University

Weller’s The Jam are just one of the angry young bands to feature in the exhibition of music promo material, tour posters, record sleeves and pin-badges.

I finally found time to pop over to the superb Eastside building to see the show, which captures the punk-rock movement from its birth in the 1970s and looks at its lasting impact on music, art, design, culture and politics.

Bands featured include legends of the scene such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash and The Damned.

From a design analysis perspective, the memorabilia is vivid, raw and aggressive.

Punk art

Punk Rock!! So What? at the BCU Parkside building

Imagery and type is no-holds-barred and as ‘in ‘yer face’ as it could be. The posters were designed to do what they say on the tin and be as impactful as possible.

The brilliant white walls on which the tour material hangs helps the visual impact and one wonders what these anti-establishment bands would make of their works hanging in such sanitised surroundings as opposed to being slapped over earlier tour posters in scruffy venues.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t detract from their interest so fasten your safety pins (the only cliché I could muster, I’m afraid) and get along to a great exhibition in the city centre.

Birmingham City University Parkside Gallery, Eastside. Free, until November 13.