Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die explores the unique visual language of the punk movement from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s through hundreds of its most memorable graphics–flyers, posters, albums, promotions, and zines.
Since its inception as a form of sonic rebellion, punk has always exhibited very visual forms of expression, from the dress and hairstyles of its devotees and the on-stage theatrics of its musicians to the graphic design of its numerous forms of printed matter. As such punk’s energy coalesced into a powerful subcultural phenomena that transcended music to affect other fields such as visual art and design.
Arranged thematically, the exhibition, perhaps the largest of its kind, explores various visual design strategies and techniques, such as appropriation, collage, parody, and pastiche, as well as the influences of genres such as science fiction, horror, and comix. It moves from the sobriety of a stripped down minimalism to the expansive color palettes and expressive forms of new wave.
Examining punk through the lens of graphic design created by both professional and amateur designers, the exhibition will also be punctuated with moments of fashion, contemporary visual art, archival images, videos, and a participatory “concert hall” where visitors can DJ their own vinyl playlist.
Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die is organized by the Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Andrew Blauvelt, Director, and Steffi Duarte, Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow, with the generous assistance of Andrew Krivine.
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