Punk and swinger parties seeking East Ridge

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They say New York City is over. They tell you the party ended back when you still thought parties meant cake and tears before bedtime. They say New York is over because something is always finishing while something else is about to begin. The same goes for artistic flashpoints associated with all the other Great Cities of the Night in the West. In New York, missed encounters are built from bricks and mortar. Everyone at some point learns about the beautiful neoclassical Penn Station that was demolished in and replaced with a concrete labyrinth of dirt, danger and sadness.

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Stories about how insert gentrified neighbourhood of choice here was sanitized long before you started romanticizing it are dime-a-dozen. And, tragically, we all know about the Twin Towers that no longer orient lost tourists to north and south in Manhattan. John Sex, Acts of Live Art, silkscreen Punk and swinger parties seeking East Ridge. Burnishing myths is a pastime New Yorkers like to indulge.

In London, Basquiat was recently the subject of a major exhibition at the Barbican Centre whilst Manhattan demi-monde actor and writer Cookie Mueller was celebrated at Studio Voltaire. The show was curated by art historian Douglas Crimp, whose own memoir of cruising and disco-dancing in New York, Before Pictureswas published in And, in November, the Bronx Museum opened an exhibition on Gordon Matta-Clark, an artist synonymous with the decaying fabric of the city. Joey Arias in the Fiorucci shop window, Why this longing for New York to be bankrupt, on fire and ravaged by heroin again?

Yet, income inequality and the cultural blanding of the city do not fully explain the lust for ruin porn of guerrilla gardens and burned-out tenements. The myths of bad old New York are perpetuated in exhibitions, coffee-table photo books and autobiographies in which you never get robbed and your landlord never burns down your apartment block for the insurance. The desire to flirt with desuetude arguably als an abundance of privilege.

Perhaps those days remind us of our present epoch, in which the world appears to be falling apart: if it kept on turning back then, hopefully it will continue to do so now. The venue — one of many alternative art and performance spaces in lower Manhattan at that time — was run by Stanley Strychacki, who initially rented it out to bands and fringe theatre companies.

Strychacki invited the trio, along with Frank Holliday and Andy Rees, to start putting on nights at Club From early untilthe venue provided a social space and platform for a motley collection of artists and performers. Club 57 was a three-way between dada, vaudeville and punk. Wilfully amateurish, retro and — most importantly — fun, it was a place for its regulars to exorcize the Cold War fears of their s childhoods and deal with them anew under Ronald Reagan, to parody and criticize the wholesome hypocrisies of establishment America and recast them as kitsch grotesqueries. Filmmaker John Waters, as well as bands such as The Bs and The Cramps, might be identified as fellow travellers here.

B-movie horror flicks and grindhouse shockers were shown at regular film nights such as the Monster Movie Club. Audiences could watch reruns of s TV shows and politically incorrect cartoons from the s. MoMA has enshrined Club 57 in its low-ceilinged, subterranean theatre and gallery space: a faint hint of what the original basement venue was like. It aims for a provisional quality: there is a regularly rotating film programme and the gallery walls are lined with photocopied flyers and works of art, some of which have not been shown since they hung in Club On video monitors, a devil dances robotically in an untitled film from by Joey Arias and Janis Budde, whilst Magnuson hilariously parodies female stereotypes in her channel-hopping video Made for TV also created in collaboration with Rubnitz.

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Marquee names — Ahearn, Haring, Scharf — are few and far between. The exhibition records the stories of those whose work did not make the cut for art history and remembers those whose lives were lost to the AIDS epidemic, drugs or other misfortunes. The narratives of the famous are so often rooted in the gaps left by those who went missing in action. Even when these films are not artistically accomplished, many provide vital social documentation of who was where, what they wore and how they behaved. Yet, a comprehensive project of this nature also reveals more uncomfortable truths: Club 57, like much of the downtown scene that gets repackaged today, was largely white.

Relatively few s of this fabled era of interdisciplinary New York acknowledge, for instance, Asian artists in Chinatown or Puerto Rican writers on the Lower East Side. Smith Estate. Few would anticipate that their fleeting moments of creative friendship would eventually receive the institutional spit-and-polish treatment years down the line; in so doing, museums risk imposing new stiff values on old loose situations.

Using the professionalized institutional terminology of the s to describe the DIY spaces of the s is to suggest more intentionality Punk and swinger parties seeking East Ridge perhaps existed in the moment — as if each Monster Movie Night and drag performance came with a thesis, wall text and accompanying talks programme. In other words, what we took most for granted about the city — word of mouth, scavenging, improvisation, all the workarounds that resulted from relative material deprivation — was fragile beyond our reckoning, while the works it inspired largely if unevenly enjoyed a smooth ride to institutional acceptance.

Which brings us back to Wojnarowicz asking for a room with a better view — or, perhaps, a better viewfinder. Obsolete formats convince you that people could see beauty better than we can, experiencing their lives in ways that were picturesque. Friendship is not necessarily exhibitable. Main image: Ira Abramowitz at Club 57, Courtesy and photograph: Lina Bertucci.

Ahead of his 13th feature film, Saint Narcissethe cult film director speaks with Michael Bullock about the importance of self-love and self-exposure. Art and the climate share a crucial trait — rapid change. A new commission at Cell Project Space confronts questions about our complicity in the gentrification of our cities. The artist speaks to Hans Ulrich Obrist about poetry, plants and planning for a precarious future. A thirty-year-old memory, a one-night stand and an art exhibition featuring this newly translated piece by the prize-winning author.

Ahead of a three-month project in the Rockaways, the London-based artist is thinking about home, time and community.

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Isabel Waidner imagines a different version of the decade that gave us the yBas and frieze magazine. In Membership. A Better View. Smith Estate Few would anticipate that their fleeting moments of creative friendship would eventually receive the institutional spit-and-polish treatment years down the line; in so doing, museums risk imposing new stiff values on old loose situations. His latest book is Limbo New York.

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Punk and swinger parties seeking East Ridge

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Punk and swinger parties seeking east ridge