Peace is ToughJamie Reid Exhibition

Microzine, Bold Street
Till 14th February 2006

Reviewed by Madeline Fuller

It is a relief to hear that Jamie Reid’s exhibition at Microzine on Bold Street has been extended to the 14th February. This is not only a great opportunity to view those iconic images now synonymous with punk but to see an artist’s work that retains energy and relevance more than thirty years on.

Reid’s exhibition features the graphics from the Sex Pistols era that I really wanted to see - the Queen with her lip pierced is worth the trip alone. It just gets better though. The exhibition spans 1970 to the present day and his most recent pieces are as culturally poignant as his earlier works.

I was particularly struck by God Save Our Yobs and its slogan ‘stop demonising our future’. A dark silhouette of a young person in a hoodie is set against a background of flowers and to me this really encapsulates attitudes towards young people and recent hype that a style of dress and guilt could somehow be inextricably linked. Set amongst his earlier pieces it also works to confirm that demonisation of youth culture is nothing new.

Other images - Blair, Geri Halliwell, McDonalds, Marlboro and slogans such as ‘culture rape’ and ‘lies lies, lies’ - make this much more than a retrospective.

Several pieces are comparatively tranquil and have quite a mystical quality- no slogans and instead soft colours and geometry. This aspect of his work was unexpected.

I found it quite difficult to work out the chronological order of the pieces. While it was slightly frustrating that dates for the works were not provided, it did highlight to me that Reid is as politically and culturally significant for this generation as he was for his own.

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