The working practices of Barney Bubbles
curated by Paul Gorman
14.09.10 – 23.10.10
Private View: Tuesday 21st September 6 – 8.30pm
“Barney Bubbles is the missing link between art and culture.”
This autumn Chelsea Space hosts PROCESS, an exciting exhibition focusing on the working practices of one of the giants of graphic design, Barney Bubbles.
The show will contain many never-before-seen items drawn from private collections, including student notebooks, working sketches, original artwork, paintings, books and photography. These were the raw material for videos, record sleeves, t-shirts and posters created by Bubbles for such performers as Ian Dury, Hawkwind, Elvis Costello, The Damned and Billy Bragg (who is contributing a one-off rug with a rendition of the designer's Masereel-quoting cover for his album Brewing Up With).
Bubbles (b. Colin Fulcher, 1942-1983) is cited as a major influence by such contemporary practitioners as Neville Brody, Art Chantry, Malcolm Garrett, Kate Moross, Rob O'Connor and Peter Saville.
Until recently a marginalised figure, his oeuvre has been reappraised in the wake of the publication of Paul Gorman's monograph Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life & Work Of Barney Bubbles.
Gorman is curating PROCESS, which will demonstrate how Bubbles problem-solved on behalf of his clients by employing powerful symbols and an intense colour sense with bright primaries, stark contrasts, strategies and interventions, such as the deliberate revelation of the printing colour code on the sleeve of Elvis Costello's album This Year's Model (1978).
After five years at Twickenham art school, Bubbles cut his teeth in the mid-60s as senior graphic designer at Conran Design. His idiosyncratic, non-stylised approach was honed via art direction of such publications as Oz, Friends and the NME.
In parallel he emerged as the most audacious record sleeve designer of his generation with such packaging as the giant tri-fold sleeve for The Glastonbury Fayre (1972), the Constructivist cover to Your Generation by Generation X (1977) and the kaleidoscopic Armed Forces by Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1979).
Director of Exhibitions
Chelsea College of Art & Design
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