Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Malcolm Garrett’s artistic influences revealed at Special Collections Gallery

8 September 2017

The exhibition ‘Collecting Malcolm Garrett – Snapshots from the World of Tomorrow’ is part of Design Manchester’s DM17 Festival

Manchester School of Art alumnus Malcolm Garrett’s personal collections are to be showcased at a Special Collections Gallery exhibition on his creative roots.

Opening on Monday 11th September, Collecting Malcolm Garrett – Snapshots from the World of Tomorrow is an early curtain-raiser for Design Manchester DM17 festival.

The exhibition of books, clothing, toys and ephemera drawn from the collections of renowned graphic designer and Design Manchester co-founder Garrett highlights his compulsive interest in new worlds and futuristic design.

From this diverse selection of objects it is clear that the work Garrett produced at Manchester School of Art, which in turn played its part in shaping a ‘new wave’ of music and fashion at the end of the 1970s, was inspired by the ephemeral, cultural media surrounding him as he grew up.

Garrett studied graphic design at what was then Manchester Polytechnic between 1975 and 1978.

With exhibits gathered under headings including ‘The World of Tomorrow’, ‘One Spy Too Many’, ‘Adventures in the 21st Century’ and ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, the exhibition shows how the imagery and iconography of science fact, fiction and fantasy from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s have had an enduring influence on his work and life.

Malcolm Garrett said:

“I have been collecting things since I was at primary school. At first it was bubble gum cards then books and toys related to the TV shows I enjoyed, anything to do with science fiction and future worlds really. The visual connections between things I treasured then and how my own graphic work developed later are clear to see.

“More recently the collection has included the clothes I wore as a young punk at art school in Manchester, trying to live in my own future world I guess. I'm delighted that all of these things have now found a home in Special Collections and can be enjoyed by a wider public.”

Stephanie Boydell, curator of Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections said: “We are delighted to be showing this exhibition which celebrates the eclectic, wonderful, and sometimes weird objects and artefacts that have shaped Malcolm Garrett’s work over the years.

“It gives visitors a rare insight into the inspirations behind his distinctive designs, some of which are now design classics and helped to shape British pop culture, style and graphic design from the late 1970s to the 1990s.

“It is particularly apt that this takes place in the Special Collections Gallery at Manchester Metropolitan University, home to the Malcolm Garrett Collection, and other nationally renowned collections of twentieth century art and design, but also part of the same university where Garrett studied and first rose to prominence as a graphic designer.”

Highlights of the exhibition include an extensive collection of memorabilia and ephemera from the 1939 New York World’s Fair and clothing designed by Vivienne Westwood from her punk era onwards, all of which is now available as a teaching and research resource.

The exhibition runs throughout the DM17 festival, and will remain open until Friday 23 March 2018. Admission is free and open to all.

Design Manchester was established in 2013 with the support of Manchester School of Art, and Manchester Metropolitan remains a key partner. Other events throughout the festival are hosted at Manchester Met. View the full listings here.