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JAMIE REID | ‘Tea & Sympathy’
June 30th 2023
An unusual-looking ransom-note, cut-and-pasted with torn-out letters from a Sunday newspaper, Jamie Reid has for fifty years, openly proclaimed ‘God Save the Queen’. The artist epitomised the D.I.Y. Punk ethics with his own form of visual anarchy, using simple images and few words to deliver punchy, easy-to-understand messages. Always an activist and often anti-establishment, his imagery is loaded with political undertones and humour. One, a promotional sticker for storefronts welcoming shoplifters, another suggesting ‘Keep Warm, Make Trouble’ to make it through the colder months. Many of his messages are as relevant today as in the seventies. Tea & Sympathy from 2005 are the first screenprints of one of Reid’s most iconoclastic images.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
Mark Rudd, an aspiring political activist, and the hundreds of fellow students blocking the construction of the new gymnasium at Columbia University in April 1968 were not planning to stand down. Despite pressure from the management of the university. The injustice surrounding the project and the treatment of the local community in Harlem was the last straw; bringing an uproar amongst many young students. A sit-in in the administrative building, not permitting the dean to leave his office for 24 hours, became symbolic for what days later led to a walk-out for the rest of the semester. From then on, it was not a simple matter of a new gymnasium at a prestigious New York university, or the rumoured, covert defence projects between a few faculties and the government. It was about much more. A post-war society numbed by presumptuous consumerism while overlooking important issues of equal rights, poverty and the Vietnam War.

Later in the spring of ’68, the discontent of society’s ills and the autocratic rule within universities, spread across students in Europe whom started their own protests. They wanted involvement, to have a say, and to be represented on university committees. In June, the unrest reached Croydon College of Art, just south of London, where a six-day sit-in where organised by young students, amongst them Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid.
JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (Royal Gold), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
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JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (Royal Gold), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
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Jamie Reid (British, b. 1947)
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
Screenprint on Somerset paper, embossed details with deckled edge.

Signed and numbered on front.

Unsigned 'Printers Proof' available for £400 / $500. Please enquire.
Edition of 95
Available from a private collection
ENQUIRE
MAKE AN OFFER
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Questioning the way society is formed was nothing new to Reid. He grew up with it. In his childhood home in Shirley, the parents discussed socialist ideas and took an active part in anarchistic movements, making most opinions aired at home non-conform with the traditional values of the nuclear family in the fifties. As Reid left Croydon College of Art he was ready to take on the world as it slowly headed towards the first oil crises of the early seventies and the economic meltdown in Great Britain that followed.

In London he joined an artist collective and found inspiration in the Situationists, an international organisation of social revolutionaries made up by creatives, whom were influenced by Dadaism and Surrealism - and included prominent CoBrA artists such as Constant Nieuwenhuys, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn. They were avant-gardes, like him, challenging consumerism, authoritarianism and the rule-based world-order rising in the post-war years. The print-based collective, Suburban Press, addressed many of the political issues of the day an through their underground publication, Reid developed his unique way to communicate. Contrary to his colleagues, whom wrote long complicated political manifests that examined theories in endless articles, Reid understood that for the ideas to reach a broader audience it had to be simplistic. And short. His simple image “Save petrol, burn cars!” were a direct invitation to rebellion, others were poking fun of the establishment through clever cartoons ridiculing triviality and peoples obsession with appearances.

Reid’s drawings and décollages fitted perfectly into the early seventies. Everywhere, small publications sprung up, and not having the money to fund a big operation was no hindrance. Things simply got off the ground with no budget and a defiant do-it-yourself attitude. Richard Branson launched his student paper in ’68 by writing all the articles himself and using a stencil press after school. Suburban Press was no different. The artist’s use of imagery that was already in the public domain - adding torn-out or cut-out letter from the mainstream media to deliver a potent message - was his way to make things happen, provoke and move on.
JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (White), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
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JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (White), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
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Jamie Reid (British, b. 1947)
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
Screenprint on Somerset paper, embossed details with deckled edge.

Signed and numbered on front.

Unsigned 'Printers Proof' available for £400 / $500. Please enquire.
Edition of 95
PRICE
$ 1,380.00 Available from a private collection
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
The friendship with Malcolm McLaren opened a door to the punk-rock scene. McLaren’s latest gig was management of a relatively unknown punk band called Sex Pistols and during the spring of ’77, the band needed a cover for their second single ‘God Save the Queen’; a rather alternate celebration of Her Majesty taking place in June the same year. Unsurprisingly, there really wasn’t a budget for the cover. The British isles were buzzing with excitement prior to the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and in the midst of the long tail of unpleasant news, Reid found the perfect image in a Sunday paper: the official photograph of the Queen, smiling and wearing a tiara. Using tabloid-style letters, individually cut-out from the paper, he covered her eyes and mouth with the texts “God Save the Queen” and “Sex Pistols”. To a rebellious band, it was perfect.

As well as the song, the image unintendedly became a visual statement of the Punk movement. Reid revisited the image several times, changing the text or adding a safety-pin through the Queen’s upper lip. In one series, Tea & Sympathy, the tone is softened and a 1977 Silver Jubilee teacup is placed on top of the photograph. Hand-written below the portrait, the artist refers to a statement by Sex Pistol bandmember, John Lydon, who rhetorically asked the question “Is the Queen a moron?”; adding later that he was never anti-monarchy or didn’t love the Queen. The sentence in Tea & Sympathy can seem repulsive, but it is more complex and circles back to the artist’s younger years of being encouraged to question the institutions that control society, and not blindly trust them.

In many ways, Reid was one of the pioneers of the punk years. Although he never craved the acceptance of the mainstream public, his understanding of communication and a talent to narrow down a sometimes multifaceted view into an accessible message, had the effect of unintentionally placing him in the spotlight. The same year that Sex Pistols decided to lay down their instruments, Tony Moon, a self-taught editor of the fanzine ‘Sideburns’ picked up a felt-tip pen and dashed off a diagram with three guitar chords and the slogan “Now Form A Band.”. McLaren, Sex Pistols and Reid inspired a generation of young people to speak out and ”get on with it”. It was the ethos of the era.
JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (Royal Silver), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
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JAMIE REID
Tea & Sympathy (Royal Silver), 2005

Edition of 95
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Jamie Reid (British, b. 1947)
51(w) x 75(h) cm
20.35(w) x 29.72(h) inches
Screenprint on Somerset paper, embossed details with deckled edge.

Signed and numbered on front.

Unsigned 'Printers Proof' available for £400 / $500. Please enquire.
Edition of 95
ENQUIRE
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
Fifty years on, Jamie Reid continues his practice, creating new works commenting on the world around him. Up through the eighties and nineties, the artist released several new print editions, record sleeves for the world-music fusion band, Afro Celt Sound System, while keeping politically active, campaigning on issues such as the poll tax and Clause 28. Not afraid to provoke and challenge the establishment, Reid released a work in 2009 of a diamond-skull on the Union Jack with cut-out letters ‘God Save Damien Hirst’; a response to Hirst’s decision to sue a young artist for copyright infringement. Exhibitions include ‘Peace is Tough’ (2000) and ‘May Day, May Day’ (2007), and many of the artist’s works can be found in public collections, including an early version of ‘God Save the Queen’ at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Today, the artist works and lives in Liverpool.

The series, Sympathy (Royal Gold), Tea & Sympathy (Royal Silver) and Tea & Sympathy (White), represents one of Jamie Reid’s most recognised themes of his career. Screenprinted in shimmery gold and silver inks with some text embossed in the paper, they reference the Silver and Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II; an event which fast-tracked the artist into the public eye. The print editions of 95 were released in an exclusive collaboration with Eyestorm in 2005 and each print is signed and numbered on front.

To view the print editions in further detail and to find more information about available works by Jamie Reid, visit the artist’s page here.
 
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