Linder Sterling

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linder Sterling Exhibit Debuts at the Goss-Michael Foundation (8117612432).jpg
Linder Sterling in 2012
Linda Mulvey[1]

1954 (1954)
Liverpool, United Kingdom
EducationManchester Polytechnic
Known forPhotography

Linder Sterling (born 1954, Liverpool[2]), commonly known as Linder, is a British artist known for her photography, radical feminist photomontage and confrontational performance art. She was also the former front-woman of Manchester based post-punk group Ludus.[3] In 2017, Sterling was honored with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award.[4]

For her solo shows at the Hepworth Wakefield and Tate St Ives in 2013, Sterling collaborated with choreographer Kenneth Tindall of Northern Ballet for a performance piece, The Ultimate Form (2013), inspired by the artist's research into the work of Barbara Hepworth.[5][6]

Recent solo exhibitions include Nottingham Contemporary, Kestnergesellschaft, Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris,[7] and Museum of Modern Art PS1, and Sterling's work has been included in group exhibitions at Tate Modern, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Tate Britain, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Sterling was born in Manchester to the late Jean and Thomas Mulvey. She was educated at Upholland Grammar School and studied Graphic Design at Manchester Polytechnic from 1974 to 1977.[2][9]

Work and exhibitions[edit]

The House of Fame: Convened by Linder

Sterling's photomontage work was influenced by the punk rock movement; the punk cut-and-paste sensibility provided a vehicle to explore rebellious, gender, commodity critique, and the body. Her collage work was also influenced by the art historical Dadaist heritage, in particular the work of the German artist Hannah Hoch).[10]

In one of her early works, the cover art for the 1977 single release of "Orgasm Addict" by the punk band the Buzzcocks,[11] the collage depicts a naked woman with an iron for a head and grinning mouths instead of nipples.[11]

"At this point, men's magazines were either DIY, cars or porn. Women's magazines were fashion or domestic stuff. So, guess the common denominator – the female body. I took the female form from both sets of magazines and made these peculiar jigsaws highlighting these various cultural monstrosities that I felt there were at the time."[12]

Sterling's work has been the subject of numerous international solo exhibitions, including those at the Tate Museum St. Ives,[4] Nottingham Contemporary,[13] Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris,[14] MoMA/P.S.1,[15] Kestnergesellschaft,[4] among others. Her work has been featured in group shows at the Tate Modern,[4] Tate Britain,[4] the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago,[16] Australian Centre for Contemporary Art,[17] among other venues.[4]

Sterling's work is represented by Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.[8]

Public art[edit]

In 2018, Sterling received a commission to produce a large scale public art work, The Bower of Bliss, commissioned by Art on the Underground to create her first large-scale public art piece consisting of an 85-metre long street-level photomontage billboard at Southwark station.[18]

Performance art[edit]

  • The Bower of Bliss, Southwark Underground Station, London, November 2018 for Art on the Underground[19][20]
  • Destination Moon. You must not look at her!, Duke of York Steps, London, 2016[21]
  • Donkey Skin, Art Night, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2016[22]
  • Children of the Mantic Stain, Leeds Art Gallery, 2015[23]
  • The Ultimate Form, Salle Matisse, Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, 2013[24]
  • The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME, produced by Sorcha Dallas for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glasgow, 2010[25]
  • The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2010[26]
  • The Working Class Goes To Paradise, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London, 2006[27]
  • Ludus, Hacienda, Manchester, 1982[28]

Ludus (band)[edit]

In 1978, Sterling co-founded the post-punk band Ludus, she performed as its singer and front-woman until the band split-up in 1983. She designed many of the group's album covers and sleeves. Ludus' music ranged from post punk to experimental avantgarde jazz to cocktail jazz. Sterling's distinctive vocal quality and techniques (including screaming, unusual sounds and laughter) combined with her lyrics, focused on female desire, alienation, sexual politics and gender roles. The bulk of the band's material was originally released on the indy labels such as New Hormones and Crepuscule.[29][30][31]



Sterling's work is included in the permanent collection of the Tate Modern Museum,[4] the Museum of Modern Art,[32] among others.

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2005 Sterling receive a grant from the Arts Council of England.[33] In 2017, Sterling received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for her creative work.[4] In 2018, she was named the first Artist-in-Residence at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Her work during the residency was inspired by the Act of Representation of the People, the which gave women over the age of thiry the right to vote.[34][9]

Personal life[edit]

Sterling has a son, Maxwell Sterling.[35] She lives and works in London.[8]

Sterling is a long time friend of The Smiths lead singer, Morrissey, since they met at a Sex Pistols sound check in Manchester in 1976.[36] Sterling was the inspiration for The Smiths' critically acclaimed single "Cemetry Gates."


  1. ^ Dillon, Brian (1 September 2011). "Linder, the artist with the hex factor". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b Phaidon (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0714878775.
  3. ^ "How Linder went from Orgasm Addict to Chatsworth House". The Guardian. 18 January 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Linder born 1954". Tate Modern Museum. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Linder 16 Feb – 12 May 2013". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Tate St Ives Summer 2013: Linder". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Linder". Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris (in French). Retrieved 24 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c "Linder". Modern Art. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b Jones, Jonathan (26 March 2018). "The House of Fame Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  10. ^ Takac, Balasz. "Kettle's Yard Goes Linder". Widewalls. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  11. ^ a b Lowey, Ian; Prince, Suzy (2014). The Graphic Art of the Underground: A Countercultural History. London; New York: Bloomsbury. p. 118. ISBN 9781472573551.
  12. ^ Wilkinson, Roy. "Orgasm Addict – United Artists 1977 – Malcolm Garrett/Collage: Linder Sterling". Best 100 Record Covers. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006.
  13. ^ "House of Fame Convened by Linder". Notingham Contemporary. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Linder: City of Paris Museum of Modern Art". Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Linder". Museum of Modern Art, New York. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  16. ^ Beasley, Mark. "Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll since 1967". Artform magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Linder: In the Cut". Australian Center for Contemporary Art. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  18. ^ "The Bower of Bliss". Art on the Underground. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Performance: The Bower of Bliss". Art on the Underground. Transport for London. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  20. ^ Lloyd-Smith, Harriet (28 November 2018). "Linder's new billboard artwork depicts a paradise of female pleasure". Wallpaper*. Retrieved 24 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Step into Linder Sterling's Mad and Magical Fairytale". i-D. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Art Night: Duke of York Steps, ICA: Linder". Archived from the original on 8 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Children of the Mantic Stain trailer". Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2020 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "The Ultimate Form, salle Matisse, Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  25. ^ "The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME". Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2020 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "Linder The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Tate Triennial 2006: Linder – The Working Class Goes to Paradise". 1 April 2006. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  28. ^ "LUDUS live at the Hacienda 1982". Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Ludus Biography". Les Disques du Crépuscule. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  30. ^ Foster, Richard (17 January 2017). "A Cut Above: Linder Sterling on Art & Ludus". The Quietus. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  31. ^ "Ludus (band) biography at LTM". Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Linder (Linder Sterling)". Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Annual Review 2005" (PDF). Arts Council of England. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  34. ^ "Linder Sterling Explores the Voices from Chatsworth;s History". Sotheby's. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  35. ^ "Maxwell Sterling soundtracks LA's brutal boulevards on Hollywood Medieval". 4 August 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  36. ^ "Linder". 22 February 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2023.


  • O'Brien, Lucy (1999). "The woman punk made me". In Sabin, Roger (ed.). Punk Rock: So What?. Routledge. pp. 186–198.
  • Rogan, Johnny (1992). Morrissey and Marr: The Severed Alliance. Omnibus Press. pp. 102–103, 109–111.

Further reading[edit]