|26 November 2011
Sex Pistols' drawing as important as prehistoric art?
Graffiti left by The Sex Pistols - an English punk rock band - in the upper room of a rented two-storey 19th century house in Denmark Street in London in the 1970s are 'pieces of art' that merit comparison with prehistoric cave paintings, archaeologists claim.
Dr John Schofield, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, said they are worthy of being preserved as heritage pieces, and should be preserved despite being offensive and rude. The markings discovered on the walls of the flat lend themselves to archaeological investigation as much as drawings made by early humans in the caves of Lascaux in southern France, he insists.
It was even suggested that the intact Pistols graffiti - found behind cupboards in the property in central London, on the street known in the 60s as 'Tin Pan Alley' - is "a direct and powerful representation of a radical and dramatic movement of rebellion."
Researchers carried out a detailed analysis of the graffiti's content and cultural significance, concluding that while it could be considered rude, offensive and uncomfortable, its presence confirms the flat as an important historical and archaeological site.
The bulk of them are by John Lydon, or Johnny Rotten, and consist of eight cartoons depicting himself and other members of the band, as well as their manager, Malcom McLaren, and other Pistols' associates.
Schofield described the site as 'anti-heritage' because it goes against what agencies and heritage organisations usually wish to preserve, but he said: "We feel justified in sticking our tongues out at the heritage establishment and suggesting that punk's iconoclasm provides the context for conservation decision-making."
Edited from Heritage Daily (21 November 2011), Discovery News, The Guardian, The Independent (22 November 2011)
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