While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.
Williamsburg’s Honey Gifts will be displaying more than just the usual lingerie and sex toys this Friday night. Brooklyn artist Tal Shpantzer has adorned the shop’s windows with images of women holding flowers and petals in their mouths. The photographs from Shpantzer’s Petal Series are inspired by Dadaism and, specifically, Hannah Höch’s collages. They’re striking, intense, and beautiful–some of the women look a little sad, others almost feral.
When photographer Stéphanie de Rougé moved to New York in 2006 she settled on the south side of Williamsburg. “From the first day, I knew I was at home here,” she wrote on her website. “Williamsburg had it all: the Brooklyn grittiness, the sexy wild parties, the shady pharmacy, the old pigeon cooper and the sweet little café around the corner. Other than the fact that yellow cabs refused to cross the bridge, life was good.” Yes, yes it was. But then Starbucks moved in, and Whole Foods and Apple made their nefarious plans.
Chilean-born photographer Sergio Purtell moved to New York City back in the ’80s but for the past eight years, the changing landscape of Brooklyn struck him as a development worth documenting. The result is over 1,400 black-and-white images, all of which are on view (in either large format print or slideshow form) at Art 3 in Bushwick.
After talking to photographer Ken Schles last week about his exhibition opening at the Howard Greenberg Gallery I headed to the Midtown East last Thursday to check it out. Ken captured the East Village during the 1980s heroin haze and I wanted to see the glittering carnage up close. What I found was something else entirely.
Luis Mallo was searching for an apartment in Williamsburg with his then-girlfriend, Ana, in 1994, when a woman in her 70s sitting outside a building caught his eye. “She was this older, Polish lady sitting in front of a door. I thought, ‘Should I ask? What are the odds?’ I said to her, ‘My girlfriend and I are looking for an apartment. Do you know of anything available?’ She looked me up and down, paused for a minute, and said, ‘Come with me.’”
It’s 1993 all over again: yesterday Kim Deal of the Breeders released a new video, tickets go on sale today at noon for Helmet and Smashing Pumpkins shows, and last night at NeueHouse photographer Jesse Frohman remembered Kurt Cobain’s last American photo session, images from which are gathered in a new book.
Lest Fashion Week leave you feeling jaded (about the superficiality of the industry, and the inanity of the clothing and the persons therein), allow me to offer an antidote of sorts: NOT × Chris Saunders, an exhibition currently showing at Wallplay that fuses fashion, photography, sculpture and video to explore the complex cultural underpinnings of style—South African style, in particular. More →
If a defunct bodega seems an unusual space for a curated art show, how about the wall outside a still-functioning deli? ANON (A Number of Names), the newest unorthodox art venue to materialize on Avenue C, shuns interiors entirely in favor of a door-sized vertical in the heart of Alphabet City.