Writer Paul Flynn explores British pop music’s reaction to the AIDS crisis. The witty, often ironic messages found in McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms borrow from popular culture and comment on society’s reaction to the AIDS epidemic. Inspired by McDiarmid’s quips, Flynn will discuss the pop music and culture that defined a generation. Responses include discussions of Bronski Beat, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Boy George, Neneh Cherry, Freddie Mercury and Pet Shop Boys.
Flynn will also interrogate the cataloguing of desire and danger in pop at a moment when they collided with extraordinary cultural impact – when the counterculture took control of the mainstream.
Early booking is recommended as spaces are strictly limited.
This walk will begin at 78 Railton Road, SE24, the site of the former South London Gay Community Centre, before exploring Brixton and will finish at Studio Voltaire.
About the contributor:
Paul Flynn a journalist and author of Good As You: 30 Years of Gay Britain. He began writing at City Life magazine in Manchester and is currently the Senior Contributing Editor at Love and a columnist for Attitude and Grazia. He has previously been a contributing editor and writer at i-D, Pop, Dazed, Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman and GQ Style. He has written for the Guardian, the Observer, the Sunday Express and the Sunday Times newspapers.
This series of summer walking tours invites artists, writers, academics and activists to reflect on aspects of the work of David McDiarmid, including his Rainbow Aphorisms series, which is currently installed across sites in Clapham, Brixton and on the London Underground as part of Clapham Public Realm Programme, in partnership with Art on the Underground and This is Clapham.
Rainbow Aphorisms is a series of printed multiples, beginning in 1993 and ending in 1995 when the artist died of AIDS–related illnesses. McDiarmid produced these works in response to his own–and his community’s–experience of the AIDS crisis and the multiple forms of devastations through which it manifests; from the political and medical to the emotional and intellectual.
Using Rainbow Aphorisms as a starting point, the walks will cross Clapham and wider South London, considering key sites and their interaction with both queer culture and the AIDS crisis. Writers Paul Flynn and Huw Lemmey, academic Theo Gordon and a member of Catwalk4Power, will explore subjects ranging from pop music’s reaction to the AIDS crisis to the relationship between homosexuality and espionage.
David McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms are a series of public works shown intermittently across sites in Clapham and Brixton, in partnership with This is Clapham and Art on the Underground. Over the course of a year, artworks will appear at various locations including neighbouring LGBTQ+ venue Two Brewers, the façade of Studio Voltaire, Brixton Underground station, and other temporary locations.
David McDiarmid (1952–1995) was an Australian artist, designer and activist, recognised for his prominent and sustained artistic engagement in issues relating to queer identity and history. Rainbow Aphorisms are a series of printed multiples, produced from 1993 until the artist’s death in 1995 of AIDS–related illnesses. McDiarmid produced these works in response to his own, and his community’s, experience of the AIDS crisis, and the multiple forms of devastations it manifests –political, emotional, intellectual and medical.
This is the first solo institutional presentation of McDiarmid’s work in the UK, and the inaugural project in the Clapham Public Real Programme delivered by Studio Voltaire in partnership with This is Clapham. The project has been mounted with the support and involvement of the David McDiarmid Estate, Sydney. The public programme is supported by Arts Council England.