Art Extra


Picture: Robert Mapplethorpe and Baird Jones

The East Village scene always makes its big surge during the summer months. The Soho/57th street gallery axis tends to fragment towards the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, while Loisaida slub dwellers keep networking and hustling. Alphabet-land first exploded into art conciousness during the summer of ’83; the partying at since closed boits such as Limbo, SBC and Area became so fervent in 1985 that the season dubbled the “Summer of Love.” Now we’re the AIDS generation, and in Madison Avenue lingo. OINKS (one income, no kids) have the advantage over DINKS (double income, no kids.) The restrained mood has taken all the fun out of joint and beer sharing. A depressing new glut on the East Village market is estate auctions of gay collectors who’ve died of AIDS.
            The move away from sensuality is turning up in many subtle ways. ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE’s solo exhibition at the Robert Miller Gallery demonstrated little of the kinky, funky style he’d made his trademark (what no ten inch black penis?) Instead MAPPLETHORPE has built up his frames so disproportionately that they overwhelm his tame photographs. Neo Geo wunder-kind ASHLEY BINKERTON’S snow at International and Monument continued the smooth polished, antiseptic look of these new conceptualists, with signs “advertising” various diseases. Written words finessed onto canvas or on glossy backgrounds are the new rage, as in the works of the over-rated BARBARA KRUGER, or the remarkable installation at the Whitney Biennial by JOSEPH KOSUTH, in the impressive placards of the Grey Organization or COLAB impresario JENNY HOLZER, COLAB (Collaborative Artists) is an artists’ group which has seen its federal funding quadrupled (and with really no other aim than curating bohemian art shows!) Run by MAGGIE ENS, COLAB is practically holding the South Bronx gallery circuit together with its exhibitions at Fashion Moda and other impoverished spaces.
            The downtown nightclubs scene has been pretty much played out, with a million-pass-a-week complimentary promotions flooding the city. Uptown, the old El Morocco has been revived without any inspiration, and the summer has killed whatever paltry momentum this tiny new discotheque mustered. The only interesting trend in New York’s nightlife has been the return to fame and glory of many legendary party-givers of yesteryear. NIKKI HASKELL, DALLAS, CARMEN D’ALESSIO, RUDOLF and YVON DIHE are all over-forty promoters whose recent events have been absolute midnight magic. The change in the drinking age to over 21 accounts for this hosting renaissance. Furthermore, the decline of the youngest East Village scene has allowed the older Soho baby-carraige set to re-emerge, and RUDOLPH especially has succeeded in capturing this crew at the Tunnel with soirees for the New Museum, the Wooster Group, the Kitchen and other homerun hitters of the late ‘70’s.  The other new twist in discoland is the surge in magazines giving parties at club. I can remember when Studio 54 charged People Magazine thousands of dollars for a dinner party. Now the clubs are paying mags big bucks to deliver the same bashes. Much respected Manhattan Arts curated a popular art show at Limelight (with powerful canvases by up-and-coming painter KAREN KAPLAN), followed by a Cover Magazine extravaganza. KIM HASTREITER’s The Paper feted actress ANN MAGNUSON at Madame Rosa’s with a surpise appearance by DAVID BOWIE, and the astonishing scandal sheet Spy Magazine has even taken to arranging get-togethers every week (at the new comedy Club Caroline’s – where EDDIE MURPHY and a phalanx of bodyguards caused commotion), at the still interesting Milk Bar and at the yuppie Baja.
            ROLAND HAGENBERG’s Artinder (which includes a London gallery listing) hosted the party of the year at the ultra-chic Salon Des Artistes. It seems that the guaranteed attendance of the large staffs at these magazine events are enough to satisfy the starved club New York. How things have changed.

Baird Jones