A Year on Earth with Mr. Hell


By Young Kim
Softcover, 248pp, 2000 numbered copies
ISBN: 978-0-9772328-7-1


Ubu Gallery is pleased to announce the publication of A Year on Earth With Mr. Hell, a début memoire authored by Young Kim. It explores a liberated woman’s erotic experience in an affair unencumbered by the clichéd political and cultural stereotypes of modern gender roles. This book is a completely truthful and explicit account about the first ten months of a romance Kim conducted with legendary punk rocker and writer, Richard Hell, starting in the winter of 2016. It is unique in that while it is a diary, in its cinematic sweep, it reads like a novel. Because it was written as the unpredictable affair unfolded, there was always great uncertainty to the realization of this “daybook–cum–docudrama.”

Known for his own erotic writing, Hell instigated the book inadvertently by asking Kim to write something sexuallyprovocative about their first night together. What resulted was an erotic relationship fueled not only by carnal chemistry, but also literary synergy. Unusually, in this instance, Hell, a man, a generation older than Kim, acted as her muse; equally unusual is for a woman to write so explicitly and honestly about sex.

Set in a Warholian swirl in the worlds of art, music, and fashion and spanning continents, the narrative is as much about Kim’s processing her grief for Malcolm McLaren (most famous for his role as the conceptualizer, organizer and manager of the Sex Pistols, as well as designing and commercializing punk style with his then-partner, Vivienne Westwood), her romantic and business partner for the last 12 years of his life until his untimely death in 2010.

A Year on Earth with Mr. Hell is published as a limited edition of 2000 numbered copies by Ubu Gallery, New York in collaboration with Fashionbeast. It will be launched in December internationally through private distribution at select bookstores and Ubu Gallery’s website. Ubu Gallery will host a virtual exhibition inspired by the book in tandem with the book’s release.

The design of the book, by Studio Marie Lusa, is an homage to Olympia Press, the notorious Parisian publisher of erotic and banned books like Lolita, The Story of O, Naked Lunch and Alexander Trocchi’s Helen and Desire, which was the inspiration behind one of McLaren’s iconic punk designs for his Kings Road, London boutique SEX: the “I Groaned With Pain” T-shirt.

Young Kim grew up on Long Island, New York, before studying history at Yale University. After teaching English for one year in the former East Germany, she then completed the first year of law school at NYU, before abandoning it in favor of her passion for the creative world. This led her to Paris where she studied fashion at Studio Berçot. During her second year in Paris, she met Malcolm McLaren and immediately commenced a romantic relationship. After a stint in the fashion world, including as an editor of V Magazine/Visionaire, she started working exclusively with McLaren in 2000 as his producer and creative partner on projects in art, fashion, music, film, theater, advertising, and media, until his death in 2010. As the sole executor and heir of the Estate of Malcolm McLaren, she continues to work in the same worlds, as well as writing. She has published pieces in Vogue US, Holiday, Drugstore Culture and GQ UK. She lives between Paris and New York.