Posts Tagged ‘Keith Haring’

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.

Keith Haring for David Dinkins in 1989

August 29, 2010

Was this Keith Haring-designed campaign button created for David Dinkins’ 1989 mayoral run—or his second bid in 1993? 

I’d guess 1989.

For one thing, Haring—whose graffiti-inspired images and designs are icons of the 1980s downtown art world—had already died of AIDS-related complications by 1993.

But also, Dinkins’ first term as mayor didn’t exactly reflect the racial healing he campaigned on in 1989, largely thanks to the Crown Heights riots of 1991. 

It seems unlikely he would have campaigned on that same theme again two years later, when his opponent was once again former prosecutor Rudy Guiliani.

Crack Is Still Wack

May 18, 2009

It’s been 23 years since Keith Haring painted his Crack is Wack mural on a handball court in Harlem. The crack epidemic of the 80s may be officially over, but the mural is iconic, making its point to motorists on the FDR Drive and to kids at the East 127th Street playground where it’s located.

That playground is now actually called Crack is Wack Playground. Yep, the Parks Department renamed it. Here’s more info on Haring and the Crack is Wack playground.

Crackiswackmural2