12/09/2004: "east village."
If you happen to be in New York, go check out the East Village USA exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. (mad props to Simon for tipping me off to yesterday's opening!) It's a big and wonderfully garish mess--three floors of paintings, films, posters, photos, and ephemera from early '80s New York. Lots of heavy-hitters like Haring and Basquiat and Goldin and Holzer, but the freshest and most interesting stuff exhibited here isn't by any of those people--it's by unnamed graffiti artists, one-hit-wonders, and mostly forgotten painters. Though the exhibit is a little lacking on the mutant disco/dance front, hip-hop and the more rocktastic side of post-punk both get their respect. Even hoary old Sonic Youth feels new and fresh in this context--there was some pretty intense footage of an extremely youthful SY shrieking 'Death Valley 69,' side by side with clips from TV Party (the Glenn O'Brien show, not the Black Flag song sadly) and wacky paintings, including this great one that's just flaming neon orange tempera paint with electric blue shooting through it--COLORS!! Also: a great Ann Magnuson short film, clips from Wild Style, club photos where people look completely and entirely unironically off their heads, photos of some really ravey-looking graffiti on the sides of subway cars (from '82!). . . man, it made me really, really wish I was in New York back then.