The Museum of Sex presents Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985, a survey looking at the way Punk culture used the language of sexuality–both visually and lyrically–to transgress and defy, whether in the service of political provocation, raw desire, or just to break through the stifling gender norms and social expectations that punks refused to let define them. The exhibition is co-curated by cultural critic Carlo McCormick, journalist, writer and musician Vivien Goldman and Lissa Rivera of the Museum of Sex, among other supporters and will be on view through November 19th 2019.
Featuring over 300 artifacts, including ephemera, original artworks, film, and garments worn by punk legends—the exhibition includes a wide selection from archives and private collections set within an immersive installation and soundscape. Punk lust was an expression of revolt, representing both an upheaval of what youth, beauty, and fun should look like and a more personal abnegation of self. Punk sexuality played with stereotypes, upended expectations, and confronted the latent repressive and puritanical morality within the society of spectacle. Influenced and often supported by the 1970s’ booming sex industry, Punk incubated in abandoned cities like New York, London, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, where youth culture was left unattended and given license to explore the forbidden boundaries of casual contact in an era before AIDS. The young women born from punk were fearless and fierce; while the men were at once averse to the clichés of cock-rock and inflected by the prior expressions of Glam and the emergence of a radical queer culture. Punk lust was urgent, necessary, born as much from boredom as desire. Or in the words of Johnny Rotten, lead singer of The Sex Pistols: “Love is two minutes and fifty-two seconds of squelching noises.”