SID: Superman Is Dead

Shepard Fairey & Dennis Morris Present SID: Superman Is Dead
A Collaborative Installation Featuring Paintings, Prints & Photographs of Sid Vicious
Plus a Life-Size Replica of a Hotel Room Destroyed by Sid in 1977

Opening Reception Friday the 13th of December 8-11pm
Featuring Punk Rock All-Stars Steve Jones, Billy Idol, Clem Burke & Leigh Gorman Playing 1977 Era Classics Live as RITCHIE LOVE
All at SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS 1331 W Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles

Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects will be transported back to 1977 Britain beginning 8pm Friday December 13

when Fairey and Sex Pistols tour photographer Dennis Morris host the opening of SID: Superman Is Dead, a collaborative installation of paintings, photographs and prints of and inspired by Sid Vicious’ tenure as the Sex Pistols’ bassist.

Born John Simon Ritchie, Vicious’ time with the Pistols was as brief as it was chaotic and legendary. He remains the ultimate punk rock icon without question nor even a runner-up in sight. Since his death in early 1979 at the age of 21, Sid has been immortalized in countless posthumous recordings, films, T-shirts, action figures etc. SID: Superman Is Dead is possibly the ultimate of these tributes, its centerpiece being a recreation of a hotel room trashed by Sid in a fit of intoxication, rage and depression during the infamous S.P.O.T.S. (Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly) tour of 1977, during which the Pistols were forced to play every date under pseudonyms to avoid cancellation.

The SID: Superman Is Dead opening reception will also feature a once in a lifetime live musical homage to Sid in the form of Ritchie Love, an exclusive assemblage of his contemporaries from the original 1977 punk rock era: Sex Pistols guitarist, co-founder and Vicious bandmate Steve Jones, Generation X co-founder Billy Idol who ran with early Pistols support gang the Bromley Contingent, Bow Wow Wow co-founder and early Adam & The Ants guitarist Leigh Gorman, and Blondie co-founder and erstwhile Ramones and Iggy Pop drummer Clem Burke.

The SID: Superman Is Dead installation will continue through January 11, 2014.

The Sex Pistols changed my life when I discovered them as a teenager. Their music alone made my arm hairs stand up, but their image and attitude were just as important and powerful. The member of the Sex Pistols  who I was drawn to and most epitomized the punk image for me was Sid Vicious, with his spiked hair, leather jacket, lock necklace, and reckless behavior. At 14 I was mesmerized by Sid and I made my first home-made tee shirt of him snarling his lip defiantly. As I was rebelling, looking for any way to irritate my parents, and before I knew better, Sid was my Superman. Sid self-destructed young, and with punk’s slogans like “No Future” and “live fast, die young” , Sid was everything the Superman, anti-hero, or cliche, of a nihilistic movement called for.  Sid didn’t really do much to shape punk music… he only actually played on two songs on Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols. However, Sid’s surly vocals kick ass on C’mon Everybody, Somethin’ Else, and My Way. Sid remains one of punk’s most enduring icons even if he is a classic example of style over substance. I was a sucker for Sid’s  image as a teenager, and I still am, even though I see him as less “cool” and more tragic and cautionary these days. I have made many images of Sid over the years, and I thought I had retired him as a subject, until Dennis Morris, the photographer of the most intimate and iconic shots of Sid approached me about a collaboration. Dennis’s archive provided an amazing treasure trove of Sid images to work from in creating the paintings and prints in the “Superman Is Dead” show. I’m so glad I got to do Dennis’s Sid images “My Way”! I can now retire Sid as a subject. I’ve worked with the best, I can skip the rest.

–Shepard Fairey


Working from the title, S.I.D (Superman is Dead), these photographs sum up/represent the image Sid portrayed of himself to the public.
He was Hero, Villain, Fearless, Innocent and like a supernova, he shone bright; lived fast, died young. Punk needed a hero, Sid became that hero / anti-hero.

The idea for the exhibition came from a mutual admiration and respect of each other’s work (for Shepard and I). When Shepard and I eventually met, the exhibition was born on that first meeting.
It had to happen. And a happening it will be!

–Dennis Morris