As Bettie Ringma and I watched various musicians at CBGB successfully launched under the rubric of Punk Rock, it occurred to us that we might do the same for the visual artists who were part of the extended scene. It was partly tongue-in-cheek, partly hype, but secretly we actually believed we were presenting something new and important. The year was 1978 and the show we mounted with Alice Denney at the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC has gone down in history as the world's first Punk Art exhibition. In truth it was part of something bigger, a moment of generational change, and the initial breaking of the dam that had contained the art world since the 1960s. We repeated the Punk Art show twice: first as a one night, multimedia event at the School of Visual Arts in New York (November 1978) and then in a small exhibition at Art Something in Amsterdam, Holland (June 1979).
In the years that followed, other curators mounted similar shows striving to define the new creative moment in different ways under different titles. But our Punk Art exhibition has lived on, thanks in part to our closeness to the art and music scenes and to the 28-page catalogue containing dozens of artist's interviews, an essay by art historian Gerald Silk, and Andy Warhol's comments about Punk. This new, slightly abridged version of the long out-of-print catalogue takes advantage of the new possibilities of the Internet with the addition of new pictures and video. I have also rewritten the introductions, adding stories connected to the exhibition, and updates on the artists, almost all of whom have remained active in art and music in the 30 years since the exhibition.
- Marc H. Miller