The ’80s in Manhattan. Around, let’s see, 1982ish, the underground nightlife, the Downtown, which had been roiling and percolating wildly in the late ’70s, exploded its primordial muck of art and mayhem onto the cobblestone surfaces of Soho and points north. It was mad crazy. It was like Creation created in the dark and fueled by coke and cocktails, yet everyone was a kind of Darwin, taking notes. Some of those note-takers have gathered their findings together and are displaying them without shame or irony at a gallery on 31st Street in New York under the umbrella of We Were the Eighties: Fine Art from the Decade of Excess in New York City. Most of them are friends of WOW in some way or another. Patrick McMullan, of course, who photographed everyone who ever even thought of stepping out at night, including celebrities; Michael Musto, who wrote less about that time than you’d think, actually spending equal time contributing to its fabulousness and absurdity; Albert Crudo, who dressed Musto in diapers and dirndls, and now undresses the likes of Donald Trump on canvas; the late Nelson Sullivan whose nonstop video presence was more ubiquitous than even Sylvia Miles and Andy Warhol, combined; the even later Christina, the Chelsea Hotel resident whose deadpan dementia was no put-on and who was captured to a brilliant T by Manson in Party Monster (watch a never-before-seen outtake from the film here); Lizzard Souffle, the lensman who took the celebs to his studio when they had time to compose themselves, dear God; and portrait photographer Paula Gately Tillman, whose subjects were somewhat gritterati once the glitter fell off, including our own Randy and Fenton.
The show launches tomorrow, May 10, at Avalanche Gallery, 39 East 31st Street, from 6 – 9 PM. Continues through June 3. Please visit the gallery website to read the press release. And do go.
(Can you be more ubiquitous? Discuss.)