The New York City club scene throughout the 70s and up to the 80s was, in a word, completely ridiculous. Mind you, that’s completely ridiculous in what might be the best way. The scene was all about conjuring up the biggest, weirdest, most unashamedly outrageous personality you could, and hitting a couple of parties throughout the town until the early (and sometimes late) morning.
From the no-holds barred Studio 54, frequented by Andy Warhol and Tina Turner in the 70s, to the Limelight of the 90s, a hotspot for New York Club Kids like James St. James and Leigh Bowery, club life produced some interesting characters and some equally interesting art. ‘The Last Party,’ a collection of artworks from this hazy, strobe-light heavy period of New York’s youth culture primarily during the 70s and 80s, was opened Wednesday by Gallery 98 at the WhiteBox on Broome Street.
The show’s centerpiece seems to be the six-foot stroboscopic wheel in the back, featuring the image of a go-go girl that moves as the wheel spins. The piece was unearthed for the exhibit, having spent much of the past decade or so in storage. Artist M. Henry Jones restored the wheel specifically for the show, where it will remain throughout its run.
The exhibit, curated by writer Anthony Haden-Guest, claims to “spotlight the creative ferment” that surrounded the New York club scene during this time. It includes many frequent contributors to Gallery 98, such as Roberta Bayley, Curt Hoppe, Anton Perich, and Walter Robinson.’The Last Party’ also features a collection of fine art, grafitti, street art, video, and photography described and collected in Haden-Guest’s latest book, The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night.
The show will remain at the WhiteBox throughout the summer.