style file, malcolm mcLaren on “non-stop bonking”

Photo: Chance Yeh/

Dept. of culture
Malcolm McLaren On “Non-Stop Bonking”

In an oatmeal-colored pullover, dress slacks, and a tie, Malcolm McLaren—the former manager of the Sex Pistols and partner in crime, business, and love of Vivienne Westwood—looked every bit not the part of the counterinsurgency he helped dress in the seventies. With stores like Let It Rock and Sex, McLaren and Westwood ushered in London’s punk youthquake and made sure there was enough rubber fetish gear for everyone. And while last night’s talk at the New York Public Library between McLaren and Fantom editor Cay Sophie Rabinowitz steered clear of S&M, McLaren managed to slip in a fair share of blue material.

To be fair, Rabinowitz, who served as Art Basel’s artistic director before co-founding Fantom, may have been asking for it. She compared McLaren’s film Shallow to the midtown “lunchboxes” where people would stop by for quick viewings of smut on their lunch breaks. “It was in the back of my mind,” McLaren agreed, “because I was one of the punters that watched those things.” Shallow went on to form the foundation of a larger exhibition in Berlin, Musical Paintings. A pocketbook-sized catalog from the show, copies of which McLaren signed after the talk, strews stills from his film with works he solicited for the show from artists like Damien Hirst and Rodney Graham. “You had to wait an awful long time before you saw a drop of bonking,” McLaren recalled of the films of his youth. “Now it’s non-stop bonking.” Things were more subdued at the after-party at B.east, co-hosted by Fantom contributors Marilyn Minter and Todd Eberle, but we just might have left before someone showed up in bondage pants.

—Alison Baenen