"SID: Superman Is Dead": Dennis Morris and Shepard Fairey @ Subliminal Projects, LAJuxtapoz // Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013
A little something special for the post-Basel, pre-Christmas and New Year cheer in the art world will be going down in Los Angeles at Subliminal Projects on December 19, 2013. Shepard Fairey and photographer Dennis Morris have collaborated on a series of paintings, prints and photographs in "SID: Superman Is Dead," work created around the Sex Pistols and legendary bassist Sid Vicious. An installation of a hotel room Sid destroyed after a night of drinks, drugs, and depression in 1977 will also be on view.
The Sex Pistols changed my life when I discovered them as an early teen. Their music alone made my arm hairs stand up, but their image and attitude were just as important and powerful. The member of the Sex Pistols who I was drawn to and most epitomized the punk image for me was Sid Vicious, with his spiked hair, leather jacket, lock necklace, and reckless behavior. At 14 I was mesmerized by Sid and made my first home-made tee-shirt of him snarling his lip defiantly. I was rebelling, looking for any way to irritate my parents and, before I knew better, Sid was my Superman. Sid self-destructed young and with punk's slogans like "No Future" and “Live Fast, Die Young," Sid was everything the Superman, anti-hero, or cliche, of a nihilistic movement called for. Sid didn’t really do much to shape punk music…he only actually played on two songs on Never Mind the Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols. However, Sid's surly vocals kick ass on C'mon Everybody, Somethin' Else, and My Way. Sid remains one of punk's most enduring icons even if he is a classic example of style over substance. I was a sucker for Sid's image as a teenager, and I still am, even though I see him as less "cool" and more tragic and cautionary these days. I have made many images of Sid over the years, and I thought I had retired him as a subject until Dennis Morris-the photographer of the most intimate and iconic shots of Sid-approached me about a collaboration. Dennis's archive provided an amazing treasure trove of Sid images to work from in creating the paintings and prints in the "Superman Is Dead" show. I'm so glad I got to do Dennis's Sid images "My Way"! I can now retire Sid as a subject. I've worked with the best, I can skip the rest. - Shepard Fairey
Working from the title, S.I.D (Superman is Dead), these photographs sum up/represent the image Sid portrayed of himself to the public. He was hero, villain, fearless, innocent and like a supernova, he shone bright, lived fast, died young. Punk needed a hero, Sid became that hero / anti-hero. The idea for the exhibition came from a mutual admiration and respect of each other's work (for Shepard and I). When Shepard and I eventually met, the exhibition was born on that first meeting. It had to happen. And a happening it will be! - Dennis Morris
Special opening night musical performance by RITCHIE LOVE featuring: Steve Jones, Billy Idol, Clem Burke, and Leigh Gorman