Shepard Fairey’s SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS will be transported back to 1977 Britain beginning 8 pm Friday, December 13 when Fairey and internationally renowned, British photographer Dennis Morris host the opening of SID: Superman Is Dead. The show will feature collaborative paintings, photographs and prints of, and inspired by, Sid Vicious’ tenure as the Sex Pistols’ bassist.
Born John Simon Ritchie, Vicious’ time with the Pistols was as brief as it was chaotic and legendary. Since his death in early 1979 at the age of 21, Sid has been immortalized as a punk rock icon in countless posthumous recordings, films, T-shirts, action figures etc. SID: Superman Is Dead is possibly the ultimate of these tributes, its centerpiece being a recreation of a hotel room trashed by Sid in a fit of intoxication, rage and depression during the infamous S.P.O.T.S. (Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly) tour of 1977, during which the Pistols were forced to play every date under pseudonyms to avoid cancellation.
The SID: Superman Is Dead opening reception will also feature a once in a lifetime live musical homage to Sid in the form of Ritchie Love, an exclusive assemblage of his contemporaries from the original punk rock era. The band is comprised of Sex Pistols guitarist, co-founder and Vicious band mate Steve Jones; Generation X co-founder Billy Idol, who ran with early Pistols support gang the Bromley Contingent; Bow Wow Wow co-founder and early Adam & The Ants guitarist Leigh Gorman; and Blondie co-founder and erstwhile Ramones and Iggy Pop drummer Clem Burke.
SID: Superman Is Dead will be on view through January 11, 2014.
The Sex Pistols changed my life when I discovered them in 1984. 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 homemade t-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 cliché 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