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by Royston

Review: Ray Lowry – London Calling

June 24, 2010 in Events

Ray Lowry Rock'n' Roll The Corporate Years
“What the hell are you wrecking your room for? We own the hotel chain”

Royston Robertson reviews the exhibition Ray Lowry – London Calling which is at the Idea Generation Gallery in East London until July 4.

This show is being promoted largely with artworks created by well-known names as a tribute to the Clash’s London Calling sleeve – a masterful piece of graphic design by Ray Lowry who was the “official war artist” for the band at the time – but it is the work of Lowry himself that is the real heart of the show.

Ray Lowry London Calling poster
That work can be divided into several sections: his most familiar drawings – cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, NME and the like – often on music and pop culture; a collection of lesser-known artworks, including some abstracts, sketchbook drawings, and even some photography; and reportage drawings of The Clash on tour.

The cartoons are, of course, hilarious. They still work because the absurdities of the rock and roll lifestyle which Lowry pinpoints are still with us today (as indeed are the many of the rockers, though sadly Lowry himself is not). From a cartoonist’s point of view it’s amazing how small so many of them are. With those detailed, inky drawings, I assumed Ray was one of the big canvas guys.

But the standout of the show, for me, were the drawings of the Clash live. They are so coourful, spontaneous and vibrant that you can feel the excitement of the moment in them. They are full of movement, the rapidly moving sticks of drummer Topper Headon, in particular, are brilliantly rendered.

The Clash by Ray Lowry

Some of the London Calling tributes are worth a look: there’s a great collage portrait of Lowry by the artist Ian Wright, and there’s a collage by Paul Simonon of The Clash which features a piece of the bass guitar which is smashed in the Pennie Smith photo on that iconic cover. The others are a mixed bag, some not so successful.

In this show Lowry is really a tribute to himself: the rock and roll cartoonist. Go and see this encore.

Cartoons Calling: Ray Lowry and The Clash

June 18, 2010 in General, News

Bloghorn recommends the new exhibition of cartoonist Ray Lowry’s work at the Idea Generation Gallery at Shoreditch in London. Do watch the BBC preview of the exhibition – packed with some great cartoons and visual reportage from Lowry’s work with The Clash in the late 70s and early 1980’s.

Rock and Roll cartoonist Ray Lowry and The Clash at Image © Ray Lowry

by Royston

Big summer for cartoon shows

May 31, 2010 in General, News

Rude Britannia
“A stick of rock, cock?” – the classic saucy postcard by Donald McGill, from Tate Britain’s Rude Britannia exhibition

June looks like being a great month for cartoon shows, with three new exhibitions opening in London.

The big one is Rude Britannia which sees cartoons being let loose in a gallery for “proper art”, namely Tate Britain. It opens on June 9 and runs until September 5.

The exhibition explores British comic art from the 1600s to the present day and puts cartoons alongside a wide array of rude paintings, sculptures, film and photography. Ooer missus, there’s more here.

Then there’s Creations in Bad Faith, a selection of cartoons from New Humanist magazine by PCOer Martin Rowson which is at the Menier Gallery in Southwark from 8-12 June. More details here.

Opening on June 18 is Ray Lowry: London Calling, at the Idea Generation gallery in Shoreditch, which pays tribute to the cartoonist who died last October. Lowry drew for Punch, Private Eye and the NME, and was known as the rock ‘n’ roll cartoonist.

He created the iconic artwork for the Clash album London Calling, and alongside a look at his back catalogue the exhibition will feature contributions from 30 artists paying tribute to that. More details here.

Bloghorn will have more on these shows as they happen. In the meantime, Martin Rowson can be seen talking cartoons with Laurie Taylor on In Confidence tomorrow (June 1) at 10pm on the Sky Arts channel.

UPDATE: Here’s a summer cartoon show we missed: Alex in Love