Dutch PUNK!

In cities around the world the late 1970s/early 1980s marked high unemployment, housing shortages, and general political discontent.  Coming off the regenerative hippie movement and generation of 1968, youth culture was at a standstill.  Out of the doom, gloom, and boredom however, came the be yourself, do-it-yourself, scream-your-anger punk and graffiti lifestyle, iconic of the music of the Ramones and Sex Pistols.  Music was pared down to “no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll” and general anti-authoritarian attitudes were evident in styles of dress and demeanor.

Amsterdam was a European center for graffiti and squatter culture, epitomized in several DIY periodicals and posters new to the Beinecke in the “Punk Krakers” collection.  Krakers–“squatters” or “hackers”–dovetailed with militant punk as the housing shortage became more dire.  The center in Amsterdam on the Sarphatistraat was the “Zebra House,” was at once a gathering spot, a gallery, a punk “museum,” a barbershop, a homeless shelter, a workshop, and a publishing house.  Nurtured by artists Hugo Kaagman and Diana Ozon the graffiti scene pulsated through several DIY periodicals, the most influential of which was

“De KoeCrandt” – a pocket-size, stapled together, amateur-printed ‘zine that borrowed from such British examples as “Sniffin’ Glue.”  Literally translating to “Cow Newspaper,” De KoeCrandt was in fact derived from “the idea of a feces-stained inner edge of a toilet seat.”  It is no wonder, then, that one of the galleries housed at Zebra House was the aptly named “Gallery Anus.” (I read this in an anthology called “God Shave the Queen.”) Enough said.

“Follow No One Lead Yourself!”

Another periodical: “Zebra”
An issue titled: “Don’t Throw me in the Streets”

“Squat/Hack the Coronation!”

“An hour until the demise”

An interview with “Jesus and the Gospelfuckers,” titled “My father is a dick”

“A cry for attention”

If you’re interested in learning more about Amsterdam’s lively graffiti scene–famous to this day–check out the documentary “Kroonjuwelen” with original footage from the time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Paris – May 1968

The student revolts of 1968 in Paris have assumed an iconic status in modern history.  With a long tradition of popular uprising and revolution, the French sought (once again) to paralyze the government and engineer change from the ground up.  What began as student protests turned into a full-fledged global phenomenon; a conflagration of youth and fringe culture radicalizing and resisting bourgeois authority.  1968 was a turning point for social change: from sexuality, race relations, women’s rights, to hippies, drugs, music, anti-war demonstrations, entirely new sensibilities were being formed across several demographics.  It’s the stuff of socio-cultural legend.

Paris ’68 remains the most monumental and most deeply entrenched rebellion to this day in collective memory, perhaps because of the prolific output of graphic protest posters, paintings, pamphlets, and more.  These materials and images were “weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it,” and provide a visually striking point of entry into the event that is wholly absent in mere narrative.  Beinecke is excited to have available for study 85 posters from Johan Kugelberg’s collection of works made at “Atelier populaire.”  A group of students and teachers from the Ecole des Beaux-arts, the “Atelier” made posters to agitate the spirit of rebellion.  These posters served as primary vehicles for disseminating information among participating students and workers.  What’s more, such artifacts are rarely found in such pristine condition; most were destroyed in the course of marching and rioting.  Many pamphlets and newspapers in his collection were physically recovered from the street by Phillipe Vermès, the founder of the Atelier populaire.  They truly offer a firsthand account of this explosive moment, as well as offering “immediate visual representation of the aesthetic of revolt and grassroots rebellion.” (Statement from Atelier populaire)

Out of the 85 incredible posters I include just a few here, but be sure to check them out in Beinecke’s digital collection, and of course, in the reading room.

“He’s ready. Are you?”

“May ’68 – The Start of a Prolonged Fight”

Proper Civic Action
On shoe bottoms: students (left), workers (right)

“The cops at Flins”
“The cops in your home”
(Flins is a town near Paris. ‘Flic’ is a derogatory term for police officer)

“For those who like ‘that'”
“For everyone else: boycott the vote!”

 

Richard Neville

Beinecke has acquired the huge and hugely irreverent archive of Richard Neville, Australian publisher, writer, and counter-culturalist.  Most well-known for co-editing the outrageous Oz magazine, Neville notoriously stood trial, several times, for obscenity. His dogged fight in the censorship wars and against the establishment during the sixties is documented in full runs of his various publications and in assorted ephemera and correspondence.  For the first time, documents related to his famous trial are available for study.  He wrote about all his freewheeling grooviness in 1995 in Hippie, Hippie, Shake: The Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, the Screw ups—the Sixties. 

Among other gems, the British issues of Oz (1966-1973) are particularly spectacular.  In varying styles from photography to photomontage to psychedelic art, both the covers and feature articles give an unequivocal sense of Neville’s editorial bravura, the swinging sixties, and various socio-politico-cultural protestations.  It is not hard to see why some were offended.  Still in cataloguing, the Richard Neville archive will certainly prove an invaluable resource for the study of post-war counterculture.

“Love me I’m an ugly Failure”
“What makes hippies happen on the psychedelic bus?”

An inside page.  Naked woman on a toilet, superimposed over the Houses of Parliament. Inflammatory much?

“Beautiful Freaks”

Detachable poster spread