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Europunk goes mainstream for Paris music museum

Photo: Joseph Bamat/FRANCE 24

The Cité de la Musique in Paris has dedicated a new exhibition to the images and forms that sprung up around European punk rock starting in the mid-1970s, proposing the works as part of a legitimate art movement.


Punk was more than just a chaotic, subversive form of entertainment, but a movement in its own right. That is the idea Paris’s leading music museum wants to convey in an exhibition dedicated to a five-year period in which punk rock, as well as its own universe of forms and images, flourished in Europe.

Visitors of the Europunk expo unveiled by the Cité de la Musique this week will be able to listen to punk hits from the mid-1970s and nurture nostalgia for spiky hair via long-forgotten video clips. But it's the movement's iconography that takes centre stage.

The impressive collection of album covers, concert posters, fanzines, T-shirts and other memorabilia are carefully presented as works of art by Curator Eric de Chassey, who argues that punk was a unique artistic movement that strived to change the world – even if it lacked clear direction.

Chassey and fellow-curator David Sanson have presented Europunk on two previous occasions, but the show in Paris includes a novel multimedia timeline meant to help understand the relatively short-lived movement within a deeper historical context.

Film screenings and a real recording studio that allows visitors to lay down simple punk tracks are special features created for the Cité de la Musique.

Rounding off the programme are concerts by Public Image Limited (PiL), formed by famed Sex Pistols' vocalist John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten), the Buzzcocks, and other bands.

Europunk: An Artistic Revolution in Europe [1976-1980]” is open to visitors from October 15 through January 19, 2014 at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Metro: Porte de Pantin.

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