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DIY or DIE! At Milk Gallery

It’s hard to imagine anyone in the DIY scene of the 70s thinking their work would one day be displayed on the white walls of an art gallery. Luckily for art lovers, the life’s work of Boo-Hooray has been to perfectly-preserve their efforts for this purpose.

The latest exhibition, [DIY or Die]( http://milkmade.com/articles/2748-DIY-or-DIE-#.U8l2_RYiqag), which opened at Milk Gallery last night, features a selection of hand-made zines, record covers and posters from the US/UK/Australian punk scene to Jamaican Dub/Ska/Rocksteady. The energy of those scenes was present at the opening; with the artists and record cover designers from that time bumping shoulders with a new generation of artists and musicians.

The collection, which features the work of mostly self-taught artists, spans music, politics, and social commentary and displays a variety of artistic techniques. Silk-screened record covers lie next to collaged zines and rubber stamped posters. A glass case houses cutouts used for wall stenciling with slogans such as: “Just as the bomb was created – so it shall be destroyed – demand peace now”. The stencils are covered in layers of different shades of spray paint, evoking the history of these objects that were used and reused time and again.

Original copies of the fanzine London’s Burning, created by John Ingham and members of The Clash, share a wall with the Australian paste-up Pulp. Both conjure up the rough-and-ready feel of producing art quickly, cheaply and with much passion. The zines feature song lyrics, stickers and newspaper cutouts and are examples of DIY publicity, work that reflects the necessity of distributing ideas over aesthetics.

The exhibition, which runs until August 10, was curated by Boo-Hooray founder Johan Kugelberg, who also DJed the opening. His interest in the work is as a collector and music-lover, with the belief that these precious objects speak widely to art history and impact contemporary culture. He hopes the works will encourage exhibition-goers to create in the same way, and it is indeed difficult to leave the exhibition without feeling a desire to cut up and collage. Johan says, “I think people who see these items will feel pretty damn inspired to DIY themselves. Hopefully not to death.”

Stop by Milk Gallery New York now through August 10th to view the exhibition and head over to the Milk Gallery store to purchase select items.

Ruby Brunton is a New York-based writer and poet. You can find her on twitter here: @RubyBrunton

Photos by Zlatko Batistich

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