Interdisciplinary Innovation

Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983 comes to The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition explores the scene-changing and interdisciplinary life of downtown New York’s pivotal alternative space. The subject of the show, the East Village in the late 20th century, is an iconic image in the public’s imagination on a global scale, the concept continuing to thrive in collective memory. The influential years that saw the neighbourhood’s evolution as a centre of social life and creativity had Club 57 at its core.

Situated in the basement of a Polish Church, the institution took its initial steps as a no-budget venue for music and film shows, quickly becoming an established location for counterculture in downtown New York. Club 57’s popularity was fuelled by the contemporary political landscape, such as the Regan presidency, and the desire to experiment and test new mediums of art, performance, fashion and music.

Curated by Ron Magliozzi, with assistance from Sophie Cavoulacos and guest curator Ann Magnuson, the exhibition works to examine Club 57’s role in the artistic and social landscape of 1970s and 80s. The show extends to examine the legacy of central figures to the organisation, such as film programmers Susan Hannaford and Tom Scully, exhibition organizer Keith Haring and performance curator Ann Magnuson- this demonstrates the pioneering curational method that become a model for a new spirit of interdisciplinary endeavour. This inclusion in the display presents the accomplishments of the programmers at Club 57 across a range of disciplines- from film, video, performance, painting and fashion design. The show builds on both extensive research and oral history, and features many pieces that have not been available for public viewing since the 1980s.

The Musuem of Modern Art, New York, features Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983­ from 31 October 2017 until 1 April 2018. For more information:

1. Ira Abramowitz Club 57 bar (1981). Courtesy Lina Bertucci.