Some of the most iconic photographs of Sid Vicious, the tragic anti-hero of the most iconic punk rock band in history, form the centrepiece of SID: Superman Is Dead – a new exhibition of Sex Pistols photography by Dennis Morris, presented alongside prints by LA street artist Shepard Fairey and an installation of a hotel room trashed by Vicious showing at The Rock ’n’ Roll Wall of Fame Gallery (June 22nd- July 15th).
Set against the backdrop of a lesser jubilee and an altogether more miserable Britain, the exhibition documents the Pistols in 1977 as they attempted to tour in the midst of a vicious vortex of establishment outrage, media hysteria, omnipresent violence and incessant phlegm – all of their own (and manager, Malcolm McLaren’s) making.
Covering both the Swedish and infamous SPOTS (Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly) tours and taking in the Silver Jubilee Thames jaunt (to launch Never Mind The Bollocks), the pictures provide a window into the world of the Pistols at the zenith of their short career - ranging from the raging intensity of their live performances to intimate shots of tour buses and trashed hotel rooms alongside some of the most famous portraits of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten.
Originally conceived in 2013 by Dennis Morris, SID: Superman Is Dead was born of a chance conversation between legendary British music photographer and the equally legendary LA street artist, Shepard Fairey. The new exhibition returns to the subject with fresh eyes. Featuring a revised edit of Morris’s photography – alongside a limited selection of the original Fairey prints – and a return of the trashed hotel room.
“The original premise of SID/Superman is Dead was to create an exhibition to distil the image that Sid portrayed of himself to the public”, comments Dennis Morris. “He was a hero, villain, fearless and yet somehow also an innocent. He was like a supernova or doomed Hollywood star; he shone bright, lived fast, died young. Even after the explosion of 76, Punk still needed a hero. Sid became that hero / anti-hero.”
SID – Superman is Dead by Dennis Morris
Dates: 22nd June – 15th July 2022
Venue: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Wall of Fame, 53a Neal Street. London. WC2H 9PJ