> Off The Wall : The Fine Art of Rock

1973 Rolling Stones Australian tour poster
© Ian McCausland

Pop in aesthetic, punk in sensibility, the concert poster is the vital ’word on the street’ for alternative music.Like graffiti and tattoo art, it has an immediate relationship to the popular and political. Since its creation, the poster has served as a promotional tool, a work of art and a piece of memorabilia. Over the past three decades, the poster has been the mainstay of alternative music promotion and is responsible for creating logo-like band identities and an iconography of its own.

The punk do-it-yourself ethos of the 1980s saw a resurgence of poster art production, not seen since the 60s and 70s, when reprographic processes such as silk-screening, small photo-litho presses, photocopying and letter-transfer systems were used to advertise gigs, clubs and festivals.

Beastie Boys
© Jason Jacenko 1999

This irreverent medium employs everything from recognised iconography to darker imagery of political commentary or violence. Many classic examples of alternative rock posters ‘corrupt’ familiar icons and cartoon characters in order to provoke, amuse and incite social, cultural and political insurrection.

However, even when employing the darkest imagery, subversion, in the form of humour, is seldom far away. Irony, wit, caricature and satire will always be key characteristics of the art form.

Off the Wall is a collection of 54 framed works by some major influential artists from America as well as some of the finest examples of poster art from Australia. Images on CDROM are also included.

Off the Wall: The Fine Art of Rock was shown at The Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne (Foyer Gallery) from 22 June - 9 September 2001 and will be touring Australia during 2002 and 2003 and can be seen at:

CANBERRA - ScreenSound Australia, McCoy Circuit, Acton, ACT
17 April - 14 Oct 2002


BRISBANE, Tony Gould, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, South Bank, Brisbane
17 Dec 2002 - 17 May 2003

Bundoora Homestead, Victoria
7 Dec 2003 - 7 Feb 2004


The White Stripes © Pixelshifter, 2001

Nick Cave © Justin Hampton 1998


Off The Wall: The Fine Art of Rock, was produced in 2001 from the collection of John Harris from Beyond The Pale Melbourne. To find out more about the collection and new works being published by Beyond the Pale, please visit the Beyond the Pale website.

    Please contact Write Angle if you want to know more about any of the exhibitions detailed in these pages, or if you have an exhibition project that may be of interest to Australian museums, galleries or festivals.
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