Stuckism, Punk Attitude and Fine Art Practice: Parallels and Similarities
My doctoral project, researched between 2006 And 2011, asks if the rapidly expanding art movement known as Stuckism has an approach that can be related to Punk ‘attitude’ in the late 1970s. Theorists of youth-based subcultures have extensively explored the notion of generational attitude\ud (Hebdige 1979, Sabin, 1999) and the ambition of this PhD has been, from the start, to describe the development of Stuckism in terms associated with the rise of Punk within my own generation. As an active member of the original\ud Stuckist group I have had to engage with the same sense of iconoclastic hostility that played such an important role during my time as a Punk musician from 1977 to the present. Thus the research I discuss in this thesis has been\ud shaped by a set of aims and objectives that, firstly, address the similarities and parallels between two distinct historical moments and, secondly, embrace the fact that I am undertaking my research from within the subject group as it\ud coheres into a viable force in the international arts scene.\ud \ud The parallel between Punk and Stuckism may not be immediately obvious for historians or critics. Both are separated in time as distinct episodes in our current cultural story (Bech Poulson, 2005; Evans, 2000) and both are associated with different art forms that address contrasting socio-cultural audiences. Whilst Punk operated, first and foremost, in the context of popular music, Stuckism is a creature of the visual arts, a response to dominant trends amongst gallery and museum directors rather than an appeal to radicalized, media-oriented youth. However, I am not able to examine this contrast from a retrospective point of view and so have built my\ud methodological approach on the hope that the ‘narrative turn’ in contemporary social studies and cultural anthropology (Marcus & Fischer, 1984) offers me a\ud persuasive mechanism for capturing the ongoing development of my practice as a painter with Stuckist and Punk affiliations. As my creative activities have contributed to the idea of Stuckism I have explored how the narratives of\ud identity I associate with Punk attitude have helped form the identity of the group. Here my initial model was research on the narrative construction of identity in professional or social domains described by Czarniawska (2004). However, as I accumulated and published accounts of Stuckism using my\ud growing archive of interviews with other artists in the group (Lynn, 2006) I began to use methodological procedures suggested by Ochs & Capps (2001) to develop a system of interpretation that drew out, I felt, many commonalities\ud with the Punk movement.\ud \ud As a result, my thesis both describes and debates the relevance of Stuckist practice within contemporary art. At the time of writing, the movement, although prominent within media circles, is barely represented in terms of serious and considered debate, whereas Punk is, in many ways, over\ud represented. My ultimate ambition has been to address this situation.