Posts Tagged ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’

Vintage ads for downtown clubs from the 1980s

April 15, 2011

They’re long gone, the spaces they once occupied now housing much less cool venues—even a shopping mall.

But in the early and mid-1980s, these were the dance clubs and after-hours spots where the cool kids hung out.

Save the Robots operated at 25 Avenue B—near the corner of Second Street, a notorious heroin cop spot—as a semi-legal underground club. Club kids, drag queens, and bar employees from other establishments finally off work after 4 a.m. were frequent customers.

“In the olden days of a mere two years ago, 8BC had a log cabin ambiance—dirt floor, no heat—and didn’t meet a single licensing requirement,” wrote C. Carr in On Edge: Performance Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, published in the 1980s.

The performance space-slash-club only lasted a few short years, but it hosted artists and bands from Karen Finley to They Might Be Giants, with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat on the walls.

Nightlife king Peter Gatien opened the Limelight in a circa-1845 Chelsea Episcopal church in 1983. Its rise as a goth dance club and club kid drug mecca has been pretty well-documented.

Who would have though that in 2011, it would be the site of the Limelight Marketplace, sort of an upscale mall with boutiques and food stalls?

All ads come from various issues of The East Village Eye.

The 1980s “art junkies” of Avenue B

November 1, 2010

“East Village galleries are multiplying like white rats,” states an article in the October 1983 edition of the East Village Eye.

That’s just a slight exaggeration. Roughly between 1980 and 1987, hundreds of galleries opened in the neighborhood, making Second Avenue to Avenue B the center of an art scene that drew inspiration from punk, graffiti, and performance art.

This party pic from the East Village Eye suggests that much emphasis was placed on the scene as well as the art itself.

The end of the East Village as a gallery mecca has been attributed to many things: the 1987 stock market crash; AIDS; the death of Andy Warhol in 1987 and protege Jean-Michel Basquiat a year later; and of course, rising rents.

It’s been memorialized in books and museum retrospectives, like this one at the New Museum in 2004.