Edition of 100
Silkscreen on paper
100 x 70 cms
A triple print of the piece Pop which shows the artist as Sid Vicious in the pose of Andy Warhol's Elvis Presley, which imagined the be-quiffed star as a gunslinging cowboy - the original king of Pop as celebrated by the original "king" of Pop Art. A homage to both, Pop finds Turk adopting the same rebel snarl with the curled upper lip, not as the King of Pop but the dark Prince of punk. While Elvis was a sanitised icon of the music industry given a rebellious makeover by Warhol, Sid was a natural outsider who found himself somewhat accidentally at the heart of pop culture. Both came to untimely and sticky ends, sucked up and spat out by the same system, with a heavy dose of self-destruction thrown in for good measure. Certainly, there was nothing glossy or shiny or bright about the respective ends of these two nemeses. But if Pop is a comment on the nature of celebrity and the inbuilt self-destruction of the star system, which likes its martyrs young and damaged - with not a small nod at the martyrdom expected of artists should they ever hope to see their name up in lights, also - it is also a wry take on the commodification of culture, in which rebels and heroes, artists, art works and icons are reduced to products whose value is determined by the arbitrary randomness of the market. Removed from the mean streets of punk's DIY roots, this Sid Vicious is a reproducible multiple to be gazed upon at a safe distance. No longer a threat, this Sid Vicious may be pointing his gun, but the only things his piece is firing, are blanks. And what of The Artist? Once regarded as a outsider, has the market rendered Him an impotent and antiquated museum curiosity too? Has the gunslinger been relegated to the realm of cliche, no longer a threat but taken hostage by the very system he hoped to challenge? Is he now responsible for writing his own ransom note? Or is there still a possibility that he may yet lay claim to the mantra made famous twice, first by Frank Sinatra and then by Sid that, right to the end, glass vitrine and all,
end, he did it "My Way"?
Punk - Jon Savage
Punk - Jon Savage
In Gavin Turk’s “Pop”, the artist is cast as Sid Vicious via Warhol’s “Elvis”. While Warhol sourced a still from the 1960 film “Flaming Star” for his silk-screened multiples, Turk reproduces Sid’s most iconic moment: the filmed performance of “My Way”, where the junk-sodden singer in a destroyed white dinner jacket shoots the audience in a climactic spasm of disgust.
Both sources are high Pop. Warhol’s images in their various forms: doubled, tripled, colour, black and white are prime exam-ples of Pop Art, while Sid Vicious’ punk de/construction of the narcissistic night-club standard was a Top Ten hit for the Sex Pistols in summer 1978. But they uncover a level of violence and hostility in pop culture that only the bravest seek to explore.
Before the style went national, London Punk was a British version of Andy Warhol’s high Sixties Factory. Many of the musicians and fans were Velvet Underground obsessives who had followed Lou Reed through 1970’s hits like “Walk On The Wild Side” into his later, more self-destructive “Rock’n Roll Animal” incarnation: pure punk with his plastic clothes, dark shades, and A-head jaw-line.
There was the same self-reinvention into cartoon pseudonyms Siouxsie Sue, Soo Catwoman,
Sid Vicious - Jon Savage
Sid Vicious - Jon Savage
In every generation there are the brave ones: the artists, stylists, intellectuals, the street kids who heedlessly launch themselves into the future, who refuse to be trapped by what is known. Within this small group, there is always a figure who doesn’t necessarily produce very much, if anything at all, but whose whole presence defines his or her time and place.
Their every gesture, captured in a photograph or on film, appears to sum up the spirit of an era. In the late 1920’s – the era of the Bright Young Things – it was androgynous socialite Stephen Tennant. In the Warhol Factory it was the elfin, amphetamined Edie Sedgwick, who danced the high wire with consummate grace. In British Punk, it was Sid Vicious.
Sid could have been the front man of the Sex Pistols – and eventually was. He was one of the four Johns – Lydon, Wardle, Beverley and Grey: herberts all from North and East London - who crashed down the Kings Road during 1975, sneering at everything in sight. When McLaren decided to hold an audition for the fledgling “Sex” group, Sid was absent. His friend John Lydon got the call.