WHAM BAM THANK YOU GLAM! Glam! The Performance of Style Tate Liverpool: Exhibition 8 February – 12 May 2013
Being a 70s kid my burgeoning and non hairy toes took their first dip into the world of culture right smack bang in the middle of what could arguably be termed the most flamboyant and colourful scene of the last century.GLAM. Whether born out of the Hippie movement ,Psychedelia, The Sexual Revolution or politically motivated, it had invited itself to the party and even if it’s name wasn’t on the list it was still coming in.
In the same vein the Tate Liverpool has thrown itself a party which in its own words attempts to ‘visually demonstrate the development of glam and it’s various manifestations in the UK and USA through cultural material from the period’
This was an exhibition I was really looking forward to and I have to admit I had certain expectations relating to my definition of Glam. A bit of Ziggy, Bolan, Ferry and anyone else on the bill at Top of the Pops during the early 70s. This was satisfied immediately upon entering the exhibit and viewing the Album cover mural displaying albums such as Diamond Dogs (Bowie), In the Court of the Krimson King (King Krimson), Stranded(Roxy Music), They only come out at night (Edgar Winters group) as well as many others.They were just the ones I recognised from my own collection. Apart from the few jackets on display alongside (in particular a leather Cherry & Ladybird Jacket from Alkasura, on the Kings Road,Chelsea.one of Marc Bolans favoured outlets at the time) there was a notable absence of Glam attire on display. I suspect this may well be felt by a lot of those who visit the exhibition only because I’m sure for a lot of us our experience of Glam were the clothes as well as the Music .I can still recall my then cultural mentor , my uncle Tom, a cool teenager with en vogue ginger shoulder length hair and an undying love for David Bowie tutoring me in the ways of musical righteousness. As our babysitter he introduced us to Space Oddity and not without egging me , my brother and my sisters to come up with a routine to perform alongside it.
But to refer to it as I did earlier, the exhibition demonstrated glam as a scene and there is no scene without it’s people. Bearing this in mind the Performance of Style exhibition demonstrated not just that but excelled in it using popular Cultural Icons as its introduction before it identified themes and factions within in it .Themes which unapologetically address androgyny both pretentiously and without pretense. Works by David Hockney, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Allen Jones and Richard Hamilton exemplified this and a particular highlight was a painting by Franz Gertsch titled ‘At Luciano’s House’. I had to inspect it closely to believe it was a painting. Unfortunately due to not wanting to infringe on any copyright issues you will have to see the painting for yourself but by way of trying to make up for this I have devised a small collection from my own personal glam gallery and although I didn’t share the same flamboyant and slightly hedonistic message to the world I was a part of, I did do a fair bit of styling and profiling.
Whether you’re a music enthusiast or share an interest in examining the components that make up a popular cultural movement or like myself have part of your heart firmly stuck in the 70s theres every chance (like me again) you’ll leave the Tate Liverpool with a hankering for a 7 minute album track carrying a party Seven under your arm whistling the theme tune to ‘Man about the house.’
The exhibition continues until 12th May 2013.
For more info click http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool