Posts Tagged ‘Psychedelic Furs’

Did Barney Bubbles forge the Psychedelic Furs/John Piper connection?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

//Top: Abstract 1, John Piper, 1935; above: Front cover, Danger, The Psychedelic Furs, CBS, 1982//

One of the hallmarks of Barney Bubbles’ body of work is the elevation of the methods of art historicism.

While perusing a copy of the early 80s exhibition catalogue Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40 last week I came across John Piper’s Abstract 1, one of a series of investigations into abstraction by the artist in this period.

//Front cover, Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40, edited by Jeremy Lewison, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, 1982//

//Reproduction of Abstract 1 in Circle (Left) with sections of John Cecil Stephenson’s Painting, 1937, and Freidrich Vordemberge-Gildewart’s Composition no 94, 1935 (right)//

Abstract 1 in particular chimes with the Bubbles’ painting incorporated into the design for the front cover of The Psychedelic Furs’ single Danger.

//Abstract 1, oil and commercial paint on canvas, 917cm x 1065cm, Tate Britain//

//Composition, oil on canvas, 55.4 x 68 cm, 1937, Ashmolean//

//Abstract 1935, gouache and collage, 1935, Pallant House Gallery//

The Furs’ single was released in 1982, the year Circle was mounted at Cambridge gallery Kettle’s Yard to reflect on the outpourings of pre-WWII modernism from Piper, as well as such artists as Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson.

As Bubbles’ work in his final years grew increasingly reductive, his preoccupations became aligned with those of early 20th century artists, in particular regarding the simplification of natural forms to geometric essentials.

This was combined with his fascination for constructing faces from unusual elements – as explored a few years back here – in the Danger design.

I don’t know whether Bubbles visited Circle or was even aware of the show, but it’s pleasurable to contemplate the ways in which this master designer invigorated his work – en route achieving maximum engagement with his audience – by drawing on the relatively recent history of art and design.

Buy copies of Circle: Constructive Art In Britain 1934-40 here.

Barney Bubbles paper sculptures

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Barney Bubbles sculpture by Sarah Bradley.

Some of the Chelsea College Of Art graphics communications students who staged their own Barney Bubbles mini-exhibition last year (see here) have posted their contributions online.

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Fun for all the family at Howies

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Tommy The Talking Toolbox would have been proud.

Fun for all the family was had at Howies store in Bristol on Thursday night as our pals at the Barney-mad company hosted an evening to celebrate the publication of Reasons To Be Cheerful.

With the invaluable support and assistance of Howies mainmen Nick Hand (who also took these photos) and Tim March, we mounted a mini-display in a hitherto unused upstairs room as the first in a series of monthly events the guys are organising.

The core of our little taster was a collection of 24 of the 27 variations to the cover of Do It Yourself by Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Pic: Nick Hand.

This seemed particularly appropriate since the site was once occupied by a Laura Ashley branch; some of the walls in the until-now disused upstairs space are still covered in her divinely daft and dated flowery wallpaper.

Part of the original artwork for 4000 Weeks Holiday (c) P. Kennedy/Reasons 2009

To keep the ID/BB theme going, we also displayed original artefacts and artwork, including the paste-up for what later became the cover of Ian’s 1984 album 4000 Weeks Holiday.

Thought to be among the very last projects Barney worked on, this has been contributed to the Reasons archive by our friend Pauline Kennedy. In her previous incarnation as Caramel Crunch, Pauline was Barney’s assistant and continued his work at such labels as Go! Discs.

  • Presentation in Howies’ denim room.
  • With a book signing and talk about Barney, complete with power-point presentation of images from the book, the evening was capped by Paul and Caz mixing up the aural medicine with DJ sets of Barney-related sounds. These, we’re happy to tell you, went down a storm.

    BARNEY BUBBLES SOUND SELECTION:

    Here’s a selection of 10 of the Barney best to warm the cockles (click on the links to download/buy):

    Eastbourne Ladies – Kevin Coyne (Marjory Razorblade 1973)

    Inbetweenies – Ian Dury & The Blockheads (Do It Yourself 1979)

    Lipstick Vogue –  Elvis Costello & The Attractions (This Year’s Model 1978)

    Fung Kee Laundry – Quiver (Gone In the Morning 1972)

    Love My Way – The Psychedelic Furs (Forever Now 1982)

    Opa-Loka – Hawkwind (Warrior On The Edge Of Time 1975)

    Post-War Glamour Girl – John Cooper Clarke (Disguise In Love (1978)

    Darling Let’s Have Another Baby – Johnny Moped (Cycledelic 1978)

    Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode (Speak & Spell 1981)

    Ghost Town – The Specials (single 1981)

    These are just a few examples of how the BBSS can get the joint jumping. For a playlist from Caz’s set see Howies’ blog  Brainfood.