Friday, June 22, 2007


Yesterday the New York Times reviewed an exhibition at P.S. 1 by Linder. This is an exhibition I would love to see by a photomontage artist close to my heart.

Don’t know her – didn’t even know Linder was a she for years. I should have known Linder was a she, with all the messing of the body politic and the daily domestic grind.

All I know is that when I came across The Secret Public in London, a slick yet raucous fanzine this artist published in 1978, I knew I had come across something very special. I still have this magazine and while I’ve collected my share of fanzines, very few (if any?) have reached the level of excellence The Secret Public did. (Or maybe it's personal, the way her images just burned themselves into my art brain.)

Linder made work for the Buzzcocks, one of my favorite bands. And when I say favorite, I don’t just mean music. Also style – Buzzcocks had a ton and Linder made a huge contribution in her cut-up, constructed way.

The critic, Martha Schwendener, brings up a couple of things to grate on my nerves, though only faintly. She wonders why Linder did not make art for awhile, in the era of the 80s and 90s. Gee, got a few hours? I wonder what kind of stories the artist might tell - of how life intervened, maybe without support or adoration.

Also, Ms. Schwendener positions Linder alongside Siouxsie and Lydia Lunch, calling them a “corrective to punk” and its male posturing. No, I would say that the original punk was already an in-your-face, woman-powered corrective; Siouxie and Linder were no second-wave new-wave. What the genre became later, that’s another story - but the originals were gender-bending, Glam-influenced and there were plenty of females there. Linder was one of those.

1 comment:

stephen said...

Aside from Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch (which were mentioned in the article), here are a few more I can think of off the top of my head: Phranc (Nervous Gender), Nyna Crawford (VKTMS), Alice Bag, Penelope Houston (Avengers), Jennifer Miro (The Nuns), The Slits, Patti Smith, De De Troit (UXA), Becki Bondage, Poly Styrene, Poison Ivy, Dinah Cancer, Pearl Harbour...the list goes on and on and on. I would say there was some fantastic female posturing going on.

Separating Linder, and calling a few women 'corrective' to punk does a disservice to all the women performers and enthusiasts that were there all along. If Linder was making album covers for Poison, Schwendener might have an argument.

Nice to see Linder getting the attention.