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S'tan, please, the East Village 'art scene' was not about cashing in on the money? Let's not idealize it tooooooo much. Sorry to cast aspersions on many of your past and current aquaintances, but the EV 'art scene' was just the same catagory of ladder climbers Soho was ALL about. It's just that the EV 'scene' was the only space available on account of that olde arte world staple, exclusivity. Mark Kostabi is really the epitome of the East Village 'art scene' of the eighties. I'm not criticizing the level of creativity, that's not my point, nor was the performance art vying for corporate patronage, performance never does, and of course there was a nucleus of mercurial personalities. But the vast majority of that scene, especially including the gallerists, were all totally angling for the big money gallery careers. Gracie Mansion didn't paste macaroni on a grand piano thinking she was going to have to go without dinner. P.P.O.W., Pat Hearne, etc. didn't end up in Red Hook. They became totally establishment and trafficed in art in quotes. The art writers of the NY Times aren't cumming all over themselves fulfilling copy quota about the current show up at the New Museum because the artists of that scene were relegated to the welfare lines. But then, the New York City art world is the most arrogant, conceited, AND self-deluded of just about anywhere in the world. To paraphrase Tina Turner, "What's Creativity got to do with it?"
Last edited by seven
What artist would not like to make a living doing what they love to do? I don't understand your contempt for those who are able to. If it makes you feel better, I do not believe that most of those painters are rich at this moment, but even if they were, this would not make them a bunch of whores.
If they are now getting media attention and a place in history, that doesn't make them sell-outs.

The Soho art scene was crowded then, and getting way too blue-chip and over-valued. The fact that a number of people went out on a string, and with very few resources created galleries and thus a scene is what is important. That alternate realities can be created. You didn't have to kiss Mary Boone's petunia.

You are falling prey to the same logic that says "ONLY MONEY" makes it worthwhile. You subscribe to its opposite: "ONLY NO MONEY" makes it worthwhile. That's not true either.
What makes it worthwhile and valuable is its spirit, whether anyone buys the artefacts therefrom, or not.

In any event, the people who generally BUY paintings are not you and I. They are the wealthy. So neither can we have contempt for collectors. They support painters, who can choose or not to be purchased.

The point of the East Village scene was making one's own reality, not having to suck up to the entrenched powers that were. If Patti Astor made a killing off FUN Gallery I applaud her, because she believed in it and worked for it. But I doubt she is sitting on some throne built from the exploited bodies of poor artists.
Dearest S'tan, actually I am not in any trap at all.

If a person loves something creative that they do, or anything else, they don't have to make a living off it. That is not an idealization either, it is a fact of being alive.

And in the 'art world' making things rich collectors buy means you are making things that necessarily flatter the tastes and opinions of those collectors. That act has nothing to do with being a creative person, is the opposite of creative freedom -is actually a grotesque limitation on the infinite possibility of creation, and in fact is a form of self-censorship. The sad thing is the majority of artists have been taught self-censorship. And then the public has been taught that self-censoring artists are fabulous geniuses.

I have no contempt for any person or persons in themself. I do have loads of objections to the social and economic operations people fulfill in their places as pawns for the existing social and economic order.

"whore" is your word, not mine.

Media attention and a place in history do not make a person an artist. They make a person a social typification of an artist. A kind of costume. This is completely antithetical to being a creative person. And is just part of the forlorn and impovershed White Order's Zoo.

Spirit has no value, in part that is what makes it spirit.

My point is that the art scene in the East Village was not some utopia or self-righteous alternative to Soho. It may have had a little bit to do with controlling one's own career and livelihood, but that is something to be expected from anyone, artist or not. It can not be truthfully said that any of the artists looked at art as being pragmatic, nor did they look at society primarily in terms of change. It was not some beautiful temporary autonomous zone. It may have had a few real outsiders and contrarian individuals, but in the New York City art world being such a person rarely escapes being just another pose.

Did some wild art come out of the east village art scene of the 80's? Possibly.

But that scene did not exist apart from the same progressively death-oriented thoughts, feelings, ideas, and restrictive definitions of what being creative is, imposed by the dominant state of culture.
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Oh Bobby you know I mean no monetary, or in that sense, earthly value.

And it is hard for me to say we should value spirit because that would be to sort of impose a kind of control on spirit. ( and you of all people know how much spirit figures in to my existence )

-anyway, this is getting in to a whole different discussion. You are so good at instigating these shifts in consciousness.
No of course if you are an artist you don't HAVE to make a living at it, but it would certainly be wonderful if we could. Seven you seem to think that is an impossibility, this is what irks me. I have to believe somewhere there is an editor who would not make me bow and scrape to get published. Wouldn't you?

Artists who are purchased by the wealthy collectors are not necessarily making things to flatter their tastes. Artists do subsist in our culture as a parasitic entity, I grant you that, but the issue is the EV USA show isn't as bad as you make it out to be. And alot of that art wouldn't flatter anyone's Park Avenue living room.
Have you gone to see it?

Here is Marcel Proust in 1896 writing on the 'persona' of the artist in Paris, through the point of view of two poseur bourgeoisies Bouvard and Pecuchet:

"Every artist is a humbug, estranged from his family, never wears a top hat, and speaks a special language. He spends half his life outsmarting bailiffs who are always trying to dispossess him. The other half is spent dreaming up grotesque disguises for masked balls. Nevertheless, artists constantly produce masterpieces, and for a great many of them an overindulgence in wine and mistresses is the sine qua non of their inspiration if not their genius. They sleep all day, go out all night, work God knows when, and with heads flung back and limp scarves fluttering in the wind, they perpetually roll their cigarettes."

I think most people still consider the artist in exactly this manner! And not as any kind of social engineer.
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The "Only Money vs. Only No Money" thread here made me think of this...
Odd that about 28 years ago I was having a very similar discussion one day in a loft on Mercer Street owned by a cocaine dealer friend of my brother's who had laundered his money by buying up a great deal of that neighborhood. Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word had come out the previous year and someone was playing a then-unreleased demo of a song by Joni Mitchell, composed as a response to Wolfe (The Boho Dance.) Naturally the concurrence was that Wolfe was an asshole and Mitchell a genius. I also remember that Larry Rivers was there and we laughed about the fact that his gallery was completely mystified by his latest work and was begging him to "stay on track" and keep grinding out commercial product. It was shortly after this that the exodus began-- first to the wilds below Canal Street, and then to the East Village.
The reason we all moved to the East Village, if I remember correctly, had less to do with rents than with the fact that the spirit of CBGB's still held sway and that a morning walk down Second Avenue or Avenue A was literally like being in a real village. One ran into poet, painter, filmmaker and punk singer alike. Everyone knew everyone else, and everyone was working on something new. Of course the fact that the monthly rent bill was under $75 was pretty cool too. This was before Gracie and Patti Astor, pretty much before anyone except... Jack Smith!
I lived with the writer/artist David Wojnarowicz and a str8 couple who were heavy duty Bruce Springsteen fans in a building at Second Avenue & 10th. David was literally the most non-commercial, non-art world type of guy. Hated every aspect of the bloodsucking commerce and asskissing that goes hand in hand with NYC's art scene. Turned down many a chance to "make it big" and strike it rich. Needless to say, I supported us both by working as the graveyard cook all the way across town at The Empire Diner. (Monica Lynch, later of Tommy Boy, was the waitress, btw, and together we managed to feed a lot of those starving artists for free out of the Diner's back door! It was also here, in this chrome and black glass Deco monstrosity that I first met our Empress... but that's another story.)
The gallery owners who came along shortly after did indeed believe in the work rather than the profit. And there is certainly nothing wrong with them later turning a profit on that belief.
After all, I own quite a few pieces by David as well as others; these will probably be my "retirement fund" someday :-)
David was later commissioned to do an enormous installation in the Park Avenue duplex of a "collector." Much of this was constructed from old newspaper and junk found on the street and has probably long since crumbled to dust. But the fee for this installation enabled him to eat and buy supplies for an entire year. I remember him agonizing a great deal over whether this was "selling out." Seems funny in light of today's whoring which is so much more unabashed.
As far as the relationship between heroin and the East Village art explosion, I would like to set the record straight, from my perspective at least. The really great artists from this time period were, for the most part, not junkies. They may have dabbled as David did, but they were not regular users. The only exception perhaps, was Jean-Michel. And he was part of an entirely different milleau-- Warhol, and that was most definitely Uptown. But heroin, at the time was everywhere. Runners calling out the names of brands of dope were everywhere, as were the warning cries of, "¡Bajando!. The streets were literally paved with it, many died from it, so it is little wonder that our perception is, in retrospect, that the drug fueled the art and music "explosion" of the Eighties in a big way. What the drug actually did, though, was to underscore, by its proximity, our outsider status and the impression that we were really living "in the belly of the beast."
Though I haven't yet seen the New Museum show, I am actually curious to see what they have left out. That would be very telling. It certainly is a very daunting concept to attempt a retrospective of work from this era. By 1984, there were 57 galleries there in full swing. Not to mention hundreds of clubs, theatres, bars and other venues. For that fact alone, what happened in the EV will most likely never happen again.... anywhere.
I would also like to point out, for those who believe everyone is rolling in it, that very recently, Futura 2000, one of the brilliant graffiti artists from this era, and who is represented in the Saatchi & Saatchi collection, could be found working behind the counter at Kinko's.
And don't even get me started on the subject of Mark Kostabi...
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God Hatchie I wish I'd been supporting someone like David Wojnarowicz at the time. Thank you for the poignant tale of his making a mountain of gorge trash in swank digs. Me I was ensconced uptown with the Luddite classicist, painter Duncan Hannah who loathed the whole downtown scene and would go into rages over grafitti art. My easy-earned dominatrix dollars ("she's lording it over a hot slave tonight" Rene Ricard used to croak) went to fuelling this fantasy of a 'New Romantic' revolution. Ho-hum! I escaped and started publishing my stuff in East Village Eye, Bomb, and other experimental rags.

I spent one memorable evening running in and out of every bar in Soho and the EV with Rene as he worked on his famous review of Jean-Michel's first show ever. As we got drunker and drunker, we fought over every period, comma and hyphen like maniacs, and were finally thrown out of someplace on Seventh Avenue South, only to get mugged by two Spanish guys with knives... you know the drill.

When you get to the show, buy or steal the catalogue, for one thing there's an adorable shot of Mommy and Daddy in it, lookin' like babies just outa the crib! The blow-by-blow of the year-by-year development in the neighborhood is so overwhelming, the curator has truly done a great job.

So far I haven't come across ANY heroin tales in the catalogue, and I concur with you in re J.M. Basquiat, though I could name a few more heroin heroines who made good, despite the fashionable addiction... It is hard to believe that at one point I realized every single friend I had was a junkie. And though I wasn't, what was I, a hifaluten "authoress" who had written a book about something no-one had even heard of, some kind of weird godawful "dominatrix" world, that was maybe something even worse than junk!

That's an idea as an addendum to the entire subject: the subculture of girls working in
the sex-industry to support their artist boyfriends or their own art-habits. You see the depressing side of it in Sue Coe's paintings. But it was certainly the golden day of the go-go girl!
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Making a living off your writing should not be an impossibility for you, S'tan. Alls you need is to find an agent/editor who doesn't want YOU to be the sub in some Paris gallery performance!

Between your and Hatches' input here it is like no one really needs to go to the museum show.

S'tan, are you sure it was Proust? I think it was rather Flaubert who wrote Bouvard and Pecuchet, unless Flaubert stole it all. You're such a Francophille.

Stomp on me for one more criticism of the EV 80's show. For me the zone then was not attractive because of the art galleries. Anytime commercial enterprise, no matter how committed the directors of it may be to 'art', springs up in noticeable numbers it reads to me as colonization. And in the EV 80's scene I think it is a total gloss to overlook the role those galleries played in 'civilizing' the zone. The art scene was overridingly for white people. What seems to be missing from this recent 'official' History show is the real anchoring role played by 'organizations' like CHARAS El Bohio, ABC No Rio, Gargoyle Mechanique, Robots, El Taller, etc. These were specifically not commercial enterprises, were truely committed to non-commercial, non-mainstream, non Art Star creativity. And several of those organizations, to prove the point, still exist now, long after the hucksters of the image haze of the EV 80's art gallery scene gained their promotions to the white collar world.

But let us not get too distracted by all the art junk. What S'tan and Hatches are really responding to (and with), and Daddy as well, are the lives they lived, in and around the EV scene at that time.
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It is a short story of Proust's, where he re-animates Flaubert's Bouvard and Pecochet as irredeemable pedants who are set on a sentimental education (or re-education) of Parisian society... something like that.

The 2 complain often about the 'new art' which then consisted of Symbolists and other Decadent thralls... Here is another nice quote for you. One of the pedants is fancifully addressing Wagner:

"Your music, sir, is full of monsters, and all one can do is -- keep inventing. In nature herself, the mother of simplicity, you only like the horrible. And hasn't M. Delafosse written a melody on the bat? Why doesn't he choose some nice bird?"

Thank you for remembering that Paris reading story! It was not the last time I was driven into a closet.

Enough nitpicking. Now you and Troy have to actually go to the East Village Art show, and then get back on here and write a COMPLETE review.
We are waiting.
I remember the 80's and the east village and the junkies and everyone mentioned but I had enough sense at the time to stay in the west village with the rest of the fags. Of course I can tell tales about lotsa dead people but I think I'll save it all for the book.

I still want to see the EV show when I am in NYC in Feb.
Hattie if you don't write that G.D. book I'm going to kill you!
(Oh wait, that's no good is it?)
I forgot about you at The Empire Diner.
And Monica Lynch... I had no idea.
When I moved to New York (to go to Art School) I was working at FOOD restaurant on Prince & Wooster Streets. (One of the three restaurants in the newly named SOHO district. There was The Broome Street Bar, The Spring Street Bar and Food on Price Street). We also used to feed artists. It was cool. Unlike you though Hattie, I am a fool and have lost most of the art that was given to me in exchange for soup. Once in a while I find something by Jack Smith or Ray Johnson shoved in book though. Oh well.

And Stan,
I so remember you and Duncan Hannah.
And when Rene was added into the equation...
words cannot convey the evil.
It was gorgeous.
I was living with the notorious art critic Edit DeAk at the time (before I knew The Empress of course). She was, as was everyone at the time, scared to death of your "Evil Trilogy". (Later she teamed up with Rene). Edit was the first person to write about Grafitti Art (1974) She was the editor of ART-RITE Magazine and was the first person to write about...
well, everyone.
Where am I going with all this?
Who the hell knows.
This is a very hot topic though and I should stop rambling and let you guys discuss it intelligently.

I also agree with seven that The East Village Art scene would have LOVED to be as successful as the Soho scene. Pat Hearn wanted to be (and did become) Mary Boone.

And that picture of The Empress and I is hysterical. Miss Understood says I look like I just got off the boat from some third world dump.
(I did).

{This post was pre-recorded.}
Johnny I remember that so well, but I do wonder why you all'ins thought we were so dangerous. We were rowdy as hell but I guess I was in my own world and did not
realize how mad we appeared.

I learned so much from Rene... and not just about 'brusquerie' if you will, trusting in your instincts and speaking your mind, but 'how to" make a bon mot out of it, so it hit home and couldn't be erased... He is my spiritual father but when I see him I don't hardly recognize him. In my novel "One Decadent Life' in compensation I make him a REFORMED heroin addict, to retrieve the genius...

After Duncan and I broke up (1980) I would dig up Edit and Rene, and assuredly THAT threesome was a terror. I remember when you lived at Edit's. I went to a party there, and it may have been the first time I ever met Chichi. She was just like she is today, so brainy and with that smiling irony. She scared me as a True Dominant Woman! When she was the bartender at Danceteria or some other manifestation of the Rudolph/Jim Fouratt impresario routine, we started talking...

Rene, Edit and I would go charging into clubs and bars and never pay for anything. (0r at least I would try to and the two Sacred Monsters would just steal money off the tables...) We would dance frenziedly trampling the hoi polloi... Edit used to tell people I drank blood because she would say "You Never Age!" btw I have never drunk blood.

What is Edit doing now, anyhow?

PS You know Pat Hearn passed away?
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Though I liked a lot of the art at the New Museum show it was not actually about the art. As much as I liked the kooky dancing bee video for its low-budget, tres gay, faux MTV production value, Klaus Noami's video (with sound so lamentably under-amped), the Jack Smith AMAZING 1962 film -the show is about the scene and the people and not really about the art at all! Not too subtle about that either, since the whole upstairs gallery is devoted to 'class' pictures and headshots of the scenesters who are presented as such and not as artists. Probably the most interesting visual of the whole show is the display of gallery announcements.

What one comes away with from the show is that there was no really ground-breaking art, no history-shattering aesthetic advancements, as hard as the Vaisman/Bickerton et. al clique tried in the end. The only people that really moved forward were Levine, Simmons, and maybe Goldin -the photographers.

So what the show really documents and canonizes is that the EV 80's art boom was a gallery movement. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of fun art to see at the show. The toughest piece though was Martin Wong's painting with the poem by the late criminal/saint/poet Miguel Pinero -and the photo of the duo in the museum's upstairs shrine is the edgeyist among the deadpan group shots and embarrassing headshots. Excepting out the charming Chi Chi and impossibly impish Daddy snap.

It is a mark of the level of vapidity of much of the art that the emphasis in this museum show is on the artists as personalities -as being wild bohemians- and their art is relegated to being an incidental aspect of their status.

I bet this show will not generate any substantial reviews about the ART, just loads of nostalgia about the people and the scene.

In an era that is the result of over 20 years of conservative villification of the arts it is also interesting to note that a museum will skew a major retrospective of a period towards emphasizing the personalities of the artists and stay away from presenting the art as being important for some reason that has significance and gravity for society in general.

Emphasizing the personalities of the scene and the nostalgia for it also says something about the whole art sector in New York City. How parochial.
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Oh, that is a beautiful question.

I am STILL charmed. When I walk out of my East Village building near Avenue C and the first thing I hear from way up the block on a rainy early morning is the voice of Miguel Algarin, founder (along with Miguel Pinero and several others) of the still-in-existence Nuyorican Poets Cafe, as he sings a poem for no other reason than to greet the day, bounce sound off the buildings, and maybe, spark me to dance up the street into his embrace.
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