MoMA’s New ‘Club 57’ Exhibit Examines its Influence on East Village Culture in the 80’s

Bianca Bahamondes Bianca Bahamondes

MoMA’s New ‘Club 57’ Exhibit Examines its Influence on East Village Culture in the 80’s
MoMA is taking a look back in time this season with the opening of several exhibits, and we’re thrilled! While Items: Is Fashion Modern? is currently in full swing, another nostalgic NYC-centric exhibit has opened—Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983

This brand new exhibit takes a deeper look at the rapidly changing culture of the East Village club scene during that period of time. Club 57 was a place where all could hang out, enjoying performances and an array of visual arts. Well-known names that spent time at this East Village nightclub venue include Madonna, RuPaul, Frank Holliday, Keith Haring, Joey Arias, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

“[It] is the first major exhibition to fully examine the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of this seminal downtown New York alternative space.”

The ‘Club 57’ exhibition will focus on some of the influential artists and founding figures of the venue that contributed to its wild success through film, performance, photography, theater, fashion design, and various other artistic mediums.

The exhibit “examine[s] how the convergence of film, video, performance, art, and curatorship in the club environment of New York in the 1970s and 1980s became a model for a new spirit of interdisciplinary endeavor.”

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Starting tomorrow, come experience the creative electricity of downtown NYC in the 80's. We'll be screening films and videos from the legendary Club 57 and its surrounding cultural scene during regular museum hours through the weekend. Presented in conjunction with @themuseumofmodernart's just-opened exhibition "Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983," the selection will feature performance documentation, music videos, cable programs, and Super8 films—including Strange Party's music video for "Imitators" from the clip above. Want more? Join us for #VWSundaySessions on Sunday for a full day of poetry, performances, discussion, and music that recaptures the spirit of the club scene and celebrates the legacy of New York’s alternative spaces alongside the art and artists they embraced. Featuring poetry and music by Bob Holman, Eszter Balint, Chris Cochrane, Mohamad Hodeib, Ashley August and Vito Ricci; a conversation with Alanna Heiss, Lia Gangitano, and John Ahearn; and live musical performances by Adele Bertei, Strange Party with Joey Arias, and more! Get your tickets via the link in our bio. #Club57nyc #MoMAPS1

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Joey Arias and Janis Budde – Screen Test c.1980 | Club 57

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One of the various artists featured in the exhibit is painter Kenny Scharf, who was studying at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan during the ’80’s.

Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983 will run from now until April 1, 2018 and tickets can be purchased directly through the MoMA’s site, here.

Featured image source: [Courtesy of MoMA / Lady Wrestling at Club 57. Pictured: Tom Scully, Tish and Snooky Bellomo. 1980. Photograph by and courtesy Harvey Wang]