Eric Marciano—director of The Age of Insects and four other films in MoMA’s collection—reports from the opening night of the museum’s new exhibition CLUB 57: FILM, PERFORMANCE, AND ART IN THE EAST VILLAGE, 1978–1983:“The reception at MoMA was stunning! I know that we will never again see that group of people together in one place at one time: Andre Degas, David Ilku, John Kelly, David Byrne, Bianca Bob, Chris Tanner, Alexa Hunter (Disturbed Furniture), Tessa Chua, Bob Carrithers, Marty Abrahams, Abel Ferrara, Michael Holman, Scott Covert, Henny Garfunkel, Scott Wittman, Art Labriola, M. Henry Jones, John Waters, Tish & Snooky (Manic Panic), Kenny Scharf, MoMA curators Ron Magliozzi and Sophie Cavoulacos, and guest curators Ann Magnuson and John “Lypsinka” Epperson were among the many in attendance. (Ignacio Valero—who was covering the bike path attack downtown—and Bill Brovold were unable to attend*)
“MoMA went all out. Truly a deep dive into one of the great scenes that was occurring in tandem with other great scenes. The show reveals an energy and crazy intensity in the art—people expressing themselves in an analog era when it took time to do art. Such an eclectic group came to admire and celebrate the work and reminisce about those vibrant (and dangerous) days. The Lingerie Family painting from The Age of Insects is one of the seminal works, with a video of Frank Holliday‘s eye taking the place of the lost original.”Two days before the opening, participating artist Richard Hambleton died at 65.
CLUB 57: FILM, PERFORMANCE, AND ART IN THE EAST VILLAGE, 1978–1983, through April 1.MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, 11 West 53rd Street, New York City.*Bill Brovold, Victoire Taittinger, and Barlo Perry starred in The Jimmy Donahue Story (1982), written and produced by Ignacio Valero and Eric Marciano, and directed by Marciano—a participating artist in the CLUB 57 show.
Ann Magnuson at Club 57, circa 1980. Photograph by Robert Carrithers.