Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
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The Smiths is dead

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The Smiths is dead
The Smiths is dead invitation card

The Smiths is dead was a sweaty, sold-out success, and the first ICA Live Art commission for Iain and Jane. Again, turning their attention to The Smiths and enlisting the tribute band The Still Ills, who had worked with Iain and Jane on their first event, The World Won't Listen. This time round, the conceptual precision of the event, the planning of every last detail, forged an event with a depth, emotion and power not previously achieved. Presented precisely 10 years to the day after the infamous NME headline 'Smiths to Split' had shaken the pop world and broken the hearts of a million Smiths apostles, the event centred on the final performance by the tribute band, prior to splitting up themselves.

Still from the damaged video documentation from The Smiths is dead
Still from the poor quality video documentation from The Smiths is dead

"Despite the art-school tradition shared by today's visual artists and clued-up musicians from Sonic Youth to Jarvis Cocker, few of the 90's link-ups have the same resonance as the efforts of Warhol and Peter Blake over 30 years ago, perhaps today's musical movers and shakers are too self-absorbed and career-conscious or inhibited by irony and the past to come up with anything truly ground-breaking. Artists inspired by pop, however, see music and its stars as a rich seam worth mining at every opportunity. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard are 24 year old obsessives with Goldsmiths degrees.... as artists and curators they've consistently referenced the soundtrack to their lives - and ours." read more

Susan Corrigan, i-D Magazine

Still from the damaged video documentation from The Smiths is dead
Still from the poor quality video documentation from The Smiths is dead

Iain and Jane created an incredible, all encompassing audio visual experience with strongly 'Smiths related' projected backdrops, slide shows of portraits of Jason Rock as Morrissey, a stage heavily laden with flowers, free badges - a wealth of rich pickings for Smiths obsessives. Every element of the event signified The Smiths, yet there was not a single genuine trace of the actual original - everything was artifice. The result was intoxicating, paradoxical and engaging. An event built on the power of the familair, on nostalgia - provoking an audience to draw on personal memories and associations.

The Smiths is dead
Iain and Jane's drawing of Jason Rock as Morrissey - a reinterpretation of a drawing of Oscar Wilde by Aubrey Beardsley used by The Smiths

The Smiths is dead
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall
London SW1

1 August 1997
9pm onwards. One night only.



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The Smiths is dead poster
The Smiths is dead poster

Work in this event
The Smiths is dead

Related work
The World Won't Listen

Other live art events
A Rock 'N' Roll Suicide
The Kids are Alright
The World Won't Listen
Doing it for the kids

Related press
'Pop Art' i-D Magazine
'Reel Around The Fountain' Frieze

Related shows
Far Away So Close


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