Does subcultural activity still exist and if so how and where? It’s a question that has been concerning cultural theorists for some time and in a world where business minds are savvy to the kudos artistic edginess can bring them, anything countercultural rarely stays so for long.
The punk years are often the yardstick for subcultural activity and unsurprisingly they are the starting point for the ICA’s latest off-site project. Set in the Old Selfridges Hotel, the new show A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now attempts to trace a line from DIY to the present day, via many weird and wonderful creators.
Taking a photo of House of Beauty and Culture owners Judy Blame and John Moore mudlarking on the banks of the Thames as its springboard, the show will make connections between practitioners across artforms and how the ethos of DIY and experimentation still thrives within London creative communities.
Being housed at The Old Selfridges Hotel and taking place during London Fashion Week means the exhibition has an unavoidable fashion slant. Familiar names featured include Alexander McQueen, Michael Clark, Bodymap, Leigh Bowery and Trojan. But, the show will also include some very contemporary activities. Laying some focus on the Dalston art scene, the exhibition highlights venues such as Café Oto and Vogue Fabrics as descendants of Soho’s legendary Taboo club. And, it will even spare a thought for the Serpentine’s Edgware road project; can the way art organisations engage with communities be considered subcultural? There may be few conclusions to their argument but this exhibition will definitely spark some interesting ideas. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On from 13 September – 20 October. For more info, visit: www.ica.org.uk