The ring-bound calendar includes illustrations of work by such artists as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Ferdinand Léger as well as designs by Shin Matsunaga, Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser and Ralf Winkler.
MoMA has selected three Bubbles works from its collection: posters for the 1977 Live Stiffs tour and The Damned’s debut album and a litho print of one of the variants of his design for Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ 1979 Do It Yourself LP.
//Back cover of MoMA’s 2014 calendar, designed by Adam&Co//
There are 10 Bubbles designs in MoMA’s permanent collection, donated by the prominent New York art collector Lawrence Benenson. View them here.
//4 x 12" colour variants, back cover, My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello, Stiff Records, 1977.//
Selected works by Barney Bubbles will appear in this summer’s group exhibition about the visual language of music, White Noise: Quand le graphisme fait du bruit (When graphics make the noise) at the 23rd International Poster & Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont, France, from May 26 to June 10.
White Noise is being put together by Sophie Demay and Étienne Hervy, the Chaumont festival artistic director and former editor of French graphics magazine Etapes, and includes contributions from a number of contemporary graphic artists – read more here.
Front covers, 12in card. Top: Armed Forces, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Radar, 1979. Above: Music For Pleasure, The Damned, Stiff Records, 1977.
Coming soon to the V&A is the first full-scale exhibition to tackle Postmodernism, and it not only positions Barney Bubbles as “the key innovator” in music graphics in the 1970s but also aligns his practices with those of Robert Rauschenberg in fine art and Frank Gehry in architecture.
This Larry Wallis poster design – one of five of the stars of the 1977 Live Stiffs tour – is among 20 or so examples of Barney Bubbles’ work included in Rude & Reckless, the punk and post-punk graphics exhibition opening tomorrow (July 21) at NYC’s Steven Kasher Gallery.
The show samples the collection of New York resident Andrew Krivine, who started accumulating records, posters, flyers and ephemera during family visits to the UK in the late 70s.
7in sleeve + record with custom label. Stretcher Case Baby/Sick Of Being Sick, The Damned, Stiff Records, 1977.
A backlog has been steadily building of Barney Bubbles designs to be added to the singles + album sleeves section of this site.
We’ll be getting round to sorting the listings out soon with much more fabulous artwork, but the recent contact with Kosmo Vinyl has spurred on the addition today of Bubbles’ sleeve for The Damned’s free single Stretcher Case Baby/Sick Of Being Sick, issued in the summer of 1977 to celebrate the first anniversary of the band’s debut gig.
“Barney said he always thought of me as the original missing link,” says the former member of The Damned in Reasons To Be Cheerful.
Scabies hasn’t been able to locate the copy of the design Bubbles gave him for several years, so was delighted when the original turned up during research for the show. And he has vowed to finally have the tattoo inked; we have recommended a decent parlour and will keep you informed of developments.
Original artwork, pen and inks on card, early 80s.
With other examples of artwork on display at Process.
The original artwork – the broken links form a rat’s face – was a particularly popular exhibit among visitors to Process.
Rat has given the tees – on which the logo is inverted – two thumbs-up. It’s surely a testament to BB’s brilliance that the design remains full of impact. And, when wearing one, you look down at your chest and there’s a rat staring back at you…
There weren’t many produced and most went during the run of the show. However, there are some left at £10 each in L (40″ chest) and XL (42″ chest).
These two sizes are modeled here by the talented and handsome Chelsea Space assistants Gyeyeon Park and Mike Iveson, both artists in their own right.
At last week’s private view, Stolper revealed that the piece on which the show turns is Simon Periton‘s The Damned, since it acknowledges the first collage, Picasso’s 1912 composition Still-Life With Chair Caning.
Still-Life With Chair Caning, Pablo Picasso, 1912.
The Damned is from Periton’s period of producing intricate paper cut-outs (which he christened “doilies”) and is of course based around the front cover of Neat Neat Neat, the second single by – who else? – The Damned.
Front cover, Neat Neat Neat/Stab Yor Back/Singalonga Scabies, The Damned, Stiff, 1977.
Periton – whose recent work includes The Beezlebag for “art-eco-fashion” brand Issi and a few years back the cover of Pulp’s Hits collection – was intrigued to find out that the Neat Neat Neat sleeve is a key work for Barney, since it marked his re-entry to the fray in February 1977.
Front cover, Hits, Pulp, Island, 2002. Simon Periton/Sadie Coles HQ after photographs by Willie Seldon.
As Stiff Records and punk rock went nationwide, Barney introduced a purposeful clarity which not only elevated the label out of the pub-rock cheekiness of it’s early months but set the tone for the new wave picture sleeve boom of the next few years. In doing so, Barney also laid the foundations for the richest and most triumphant phase of his own career.
Simon Periton at last week's private view.
Periton has now moved away from cut-outs to painting on glass; The Damned dates from 2002. Read all about him and his work in Michael Bracewell’s monograph, and, if you’re in town, catch The Term Reality; it’s on until August 3.
Over the coming weeks, the considerable fruits of his partnership with US singer-songwriter Amy Rigby can be witnessed first-hand on a series of European live dates.
In comparison with his former stablemates, Eric Goulden benefited fleetingly from the design work of Barney Bubbles, though they maintained a friendship from introduction early in 1977 to Barney’s death late in 1983; they shared common ground in having attended art schools (Goulden studied sculpture at Hull).
On the line from his home in France, Goulden confirms that Barney wasn’t at Stiff for the first six months of the label’s existence, when the design direction was handled by Chris Moreton.
“Then Barney swam into the picture,” says Goulden. “I liked him a lot. Barney was easygoing and looked kind of normal; short-ish hair and always wearing some kind of anorak. To look at him, you wouldn’t have thought this bloke had any history.
“He was a strange man, an acid casualty on some levels. It was unusual for someone who’d been such a part of the Ladbroke Grove/Notting Hill hippie scene to cross over and working with people like The Damned.”
Barney created an ident (which, like those produced for other Stiff artists, appeared on the record label). “He used the guillotine to cut jagged strips of paper which he put together to make up my name,” says Goulden. This logo was paired on the front cover of Whole Wide World with a crop from the Chris Gabrin portrait from A Bunch Of Stiffs.
From the inner to A Bunch Of Stiffs, April 1977. Photo: Chris Gabrin.
For the back, Goulden was despatched to a photo-booth and ordered to improvise semaphore signals. Barney then cropped and bleached out one of the frames. “I’d never seen anything like it; he made it look incredible,” Goulden adds.
“To me Barney was like The Beatles. When I was a kid you wouldn’t be quite sure of how they sounded when you first heard one of their new records. Sometimes you’d think: ‘They’ve lost it,’ because it was so unexpected, and Barney was a bit like that. Every time he did something new, it was so over-the-top you were taken aback.”
A clutch of 1977 Stiffs with personalised labels.
One of the five subjects of the 60in x 40in day-glo posters Barney and Gabrin created for the Stiffs Live Stiffs tour of late 77, Goulden was around when the pair collaborated on the sleeve for Music For Pleasure.
12in sleeves. Back cover and inner "lino" shots, Music For Pleasure, The Damned, Stiff, 1977.
“I went with him to a lino shop in Westbourne Grove where he bought the roll which is on the inner sleeve,” says Eric. “The Damned were made to lie on it at Chris’s studio and shot from above, so it looked like they were standing up. Very odd, but it worked brilliantly.”
One of Barney’s great lost designs was the sleeve for Goulden’s unreleased 1977 Stiff EP, Piccadilly Menial. With the catalogue number LAST3, this was to comprise the title track, Excuse Me, Personal Hygiene and Rags & Tatters .
“It was on graph paper and in the style of an architectural drawing,” says Goulden, who recalls it was akin to the axinometric lettering Barney created for The Soft Boys. The EP was replaced in the schedule with Reconnez Cherie, the B-side of which was the Benny Hill theme tune-quoting Rags & Tatters.
Music press half-page advert, The Soft Boys tour, 1978.
“Barney had angles to him,” says Eric. “People would say ‘Oh it’s just Barney, a bit of a wacky image with some splashes and other esoteric stuff’ but in fact he thought things through and was way better than his imitators, of course. Unfortunately, in that way, he inadvertently created the look of the 80s, which was horrible and gaudy.”
Dansette, detail, front cover Musical Shapes, Carlene Carter, F-beat, 1980
Poignantly, Goulden saw Barney not long before his death in November 1983. ”I visited him at his house off the Balls Pond Road,” says Eric. “He got Nuggets out and played it really loud on this Dansette on legs in the basement.”