These rare polaroids by Jim French are an integral part of SHOWstudio's The Photography of Punk exhibition. They served as studies for French's Longhorns series of drawings which depict homoerotic images of cowboys. One of these sketches was appropriated by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for their notorious Nude Cowboys seditionaries tshirts. The garments provoked intense controversy at the time, with many of the wearers being arrested for indecent display. French, in LA, was completely unaware that his art work had been used in this way, and McLaren, having taken them from a catalogue authored with French's pseudonym 'Rip Colt', did not know of the artist responsible. In the coming years, the drawings were often incorrectly attributed to Tom of Finland, who also took up a similar subject matter but whose style is markedly different from French's and the authorship is not widely recognised.
SHOWstudio has told this story within the Photography of Punk exhibition by displaying both artists' works alongside each other as well as Dennis Morris' iconic shot of Sid Vicious wearing the t-shirt. All can be seen at our London gallery on 19 Motcomb Street until 22nd November. Visit us to see these elements of the punk movement, or purchase the polaroids here now.