Punk Graphics, Shepard Fairey Exhibits to Debut at Cranbrook Art Museum

Galleries will feature DIY-style posters, zines, and album covers
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Photo courtesy the Galleries at Moore, Philadelphia. Photo by Joseph Hu.

Following a series of exhibitions that focused on street art, Cranbrook Art Museum is now attempting to explore the cultural impact of punk and post-punk through its new exhibits Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 and Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999.

Paying homage to the art forms and artists that helped visually define the movement, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die features appropriated or borrowed images, collage and montage work, as well as DIY zines and flyers. The exhibit will also take a look at how comics, the horror genre, and modern art influenced the creation of punk graphics.

“Since its rebellious inception in the 1970s, punk has always exhibited very visual forms of expression,” says the Cranbrook Art Museum Director, Andrew Blauvelt, who curated the exhibitions. “The energy of the [punk] movement created a powerful subcultural phenomena that transcended music to affect other fields such as visual art and design.”

Photograph Courtesy of Shepard Fairey

Perhaps best known for his “Hope” posters from President Obama’s 2008 election campaign, Fairey’s Salad Day’s will display work from the street artist’s early years and show visitors how he’s engaged with the punk scene through posters, stickers, and archival documents.

“In Fairey’s earliest works we can see the inheritance of the punk ethos: the satirical impulse, the guerilla-style poster sniping, the oblique references to pop culture, and the very public stage of the street as a place for unapologetic individual expression,” Blauvlet.

To welcome the exhibits, the Bloomfield Hills museum will host a ticketed opening event on June 15, featuring music, a cash bar, and appetizers. Both Blauvelt and Fairey will be in attendance for the preview party, which will offer an exclusive viewing of the exhibits before they open to the public on June 16.

To coincide with the exhibitions, the museum will also host a conversation with Shepard Fairey, (June 16); a screening of the film American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock, (June 30); a showing of the film The Filth and the Fury, (July 21); a panel discussion on punk rock in Detroit at Third Man Records, (Aug. 4); and a screening of A Band Called Death, (Aug. 18).

For more information, visit cranbrookartmuseum.org

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