Malcolm McLaren: Shallow 1-21
A pop cultural icon for over thirty years, Malcolm McLaren is a visionary artist. Always at the forefront of culture and pushing boundaries, he is probably best recognized for his work in melding fashion with music.
Shallow 1-21, an 86-minute video, consists of 21 “musical paintings” that combine musical cut-ups and short clips appropriated from old sex films into a hypnotically layered, and provocative work. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) proudly exhibited Shallow 1-21 in its entirety for the first time in North America.
McLaren explains, “I made 21 musical works from a grab bag of pop culture’s debris of the past 50 years. In linking these musical cut-ups to the face of those sexual encounters, I can’t say what happens is what happened. The alchemy made possible another meaning far deeper than what existed before. I began to call these works the musical end of painting because they are not films or videos but another form entirely; a map of feelings that navigates the look of music and the sound of fashion.”
Born in London in 1946, McLaren was educated at art schools in England. In 1971, with his then partner, Vivienne Westwood, he opened the legendary Let It Rock shop in London, creating fashion that would dress the Punk Generation and inspire legions of fashion designers. In the mid-1970s, McLaren founded, managed and art directed the iconic Punk band, the Sex Pistols. He then went on to work with such artists as Boy George, Adam Ant, and Bow Wow Wow, before becoming a recording artist in his own right. In the 1980s and 90s, McLaren’s solo albums, Duck Rock, Fans, Waltz Darling, and Paris were major musical breakthroughs exploring Hip Hop, Opera, R&B, and Lounge Music, among other genres. In 1985, McLaren went to Hollywood where he worked as a development executive for Columbia Pictures and Steven Spielberg. He lives and works in New York and Paris and has been writing music, producing films, writing “radio movies,” and giving live performances.