Raindance logo 1989-present by Pezman

Raindance logo 1989-present by Pezman

Artcore, an exhibition and auction opening at Selfridges’ Ultralounge gallery space this Friday, celebrates the 1980s/90s rave movement in all its garish glory. Warning: the images that follow may be painful for some design sensibilities…

The Jester ‘Penny-wise’ flyer for Helter Skelter event, 1996

Artcore celebrates an era of design that many of us may prefer to forget: the Acid House and rave movement of the late 1980s-early 90s. Characterised by garish colours and badly Photoshopped images of iconic symbols such as marijuana leaves and smiley faces, it has to be one of the least subtle eras in graphic design history. And yet, looking at the Super Super-influenced graphics that assault our senses today, it may seem to some as if rave has never been away, making it the perfect time to explore the style’s heritage.

Wonderland (Pete Tong) by Goldie, 2008

The exhibition will be a mixture of original artworks and ephemera from dance music history (including flyers, posters, and even the floorboards of one club). All the works on show will then be auctioned off at exhibition’s end. “It’s a visual representation of dance and free party culture,” says Mary McCarthy of Dreweatts Auction House, who has curated the exhibition alongside Ernesto Leal from Our Cultural History. “We’ve worked alongside a lot of the artists who did the work that originally appeared on the flyers. Much of the artwork has been lost so they have redone canvases and prints for the exhibition.”

Beyond Therapy flyer, 1989

The exhibition will include artworks by prolific dance music artists and designers including Dave Little, Pez and Pierre Anstis. Artcore opens this Friday (13th), with the auction taking place on February 26.

Puzzled flyer, 1995

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