The powerfully feminist and anti-militarist "Penis Envy" album.
The collected artworks of artist Gee Vaucher.
Illustration for CRASS by Gee Vaucher
IIllustration for CRASS by Gee Vaucher
Illustration for CRASS by Gee Vaucher
Illustration for CRASS by Gee Vaucher


CRASS were one of the most influential punk bands to have come out of England in the late 1970s, though to the casual observer they remain an obscure name. The band's avowed anarchist politics and challenging aural assault assured they'd never get any airplay.

Their brilliant pro-feminist album, Penis Envy (released in 1980) sold more than enough records to place it in the gold record category... that is, if CRASS had been on a corporate record label. From the very beginning, record albums and singles from CRASS were on their own independent lable and accompanied by the most beautiful artworks created by Gee Vaucher. Sometimes her works were surreal images that begged for introspective analysis and interpretation, other times her works required no explanation... being brazen and explicit denunciations of a soulless society and its powerful elites.

The stunning black & white paintings created by Gee were so realistic that many thought they were done by photomontage. The example shown above originally appeared as cover art for the CRASS single release Nagasaki Nightmare. In this searing anti-war artwork, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev stand with world leaders on the pulverized remains of Nagasaki... the charred body of a young boy at their feet.

Gee visited Los Angeles on a limited speaking tour in the year 2000, and I had the pleasure of talking with her briefly on the subject of art and politics. I was pleased to learn that she is still very active as an artist and is now undertaking a new series of paintings. These new works are quite a departure from her old style, and are faintly reminiscent of the works of Francis Bacon. Before our brief encounter came to an end, I gave Gee a few of my own artworks as a token of appreciation, and we then said our good-byes. Gee now lives and works at Dial House, a sprawling anarchist collective located in Essex, England.

www.art-for-a-change.com is owned and operated by Mark Vallen All text by Mark Vallen.