featured gallery for June 2018

Stardust: A Two-Part Show

Stardust is inspired by a time, a place (mainly New York and London) and a culture personified by David Bowie and the New York Dolls. David Bowie and the New York Dolls experimented with gender -- which was represented in a more fluid manner, wearing non-mainstream "punk" fashions -- and, of course, made great, inspiring music. The music and the manner in which they represented themselves were wildly creative, glamorous and spontaneous. The artists who I selected for Stardust have an element in their work of the exhilaration and the riotously creative energy of this music and time.

The artists selected also relate to lyrics from songs, theatrics on stage or by groupies, fashion from the time and the actual stage itself where the music was performed. David Bowie may be taking off any minute in his space ship to the stars and the New York Dolls could be part of some other worldly vagabond group of beautiful outsiders. Each artist in Stardust somehow personifies the joy, the beauty and the music in some manner.

Stardust can be grouped into a couple of smaller shows. The first grouping of images is subtitled "Stardust: The Magical Stage" and includes a blurry, drugged out color photo by John Morrison of backstage at CBGB. Jimmy DeSana's image of a floating, genderless body reminded me of Bowie flying away into outer space. Sarawut Chutiwongpeti's glittery installation of glowing lights and rows of columns would be a perfect stage to perform on, as it captures the other worldly nature of performance and ethos. David Wojnarowicz's work is a detail of a larger installation piece and, again, is a space for a mutinous performance that is riotous, messy and ecstatic all at once.

The second grouping of works is subtitled "Stardust: The Happening and the Importance of Style." This group of artists was either making work in NYC during that time or was actually capturing the scene itself. Others share a sensibility with the music, the style or energy of that time. A color photograph of Grace Jones in white face paint and red hair talking to Keith Haring by Juan Rivera and a photograph of Keith Haring in the Pop Shop in the late 80s capture the burst of creativity and intensity of the time. Works by Bern Boyle, Jose Luis Cortes and Mark Morrisroe capture the punk stylishness of the time with immense hair, numerous tattoos and men who are both very masculine and very feminine at once. Images by Derek Jackson ("Darrell: The Armory Show," "First Timer"), Max Greenberg, Hunter Reynolds and Albert Winn are playful and sometimes melancholy depictions of individuals at parties after the concert and perhaps behind the stage flirting and being watched and desired. David Abbott, John Morrison and Yolanda capture glamorous individuals being playful and showing rapturous aspects of the music, the scene and the time.

Bowie and the Dolls, through their performances and music, made it seem that anything and everything was possible. Even space travel was possible and perhaps this represented a location where one could occupy a different and more magical world. In some manner, all the artists in Stardust depict this magic and the creative energy of the time and the music.