Can you imagine seeing Jean-Michel Basquiat behind a set of turntables playing records at a nightclub? Thanks to the intimate photos of Ben Buchanan, we’re given a glimpse at what iconic artists like Jean- Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and more did while out in the NYC club scene.
Peter Harrington, the rare bookshop and gallery in London, hosted an exhibition titled History is a Nightclub: Downtown AREA, NYC, 1983-87, which features photos of renowned artists alongside celebrity friends including Sting, Tom Waits, The Beastie Boys, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Grace Jones and John Waters.
The photos were captured by Buchanan while he was working as an in-house photographer for the AREA nightclub. Ahead of the upcoming exhibit he spoke about his experience there:
“I had turned up at AREA looking for a job and they gave me a camera I had no idea how to use and they told me to point it at anything interesting. It was the club that everyone wanted to get into, even the invitations to each theme were inventive and covetable, while the decorations were often brought in from movie sets.”
The exhibit focuses on Jean- Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and David Hockney attending an art-themed party. Buchanon described what the scene was like:
“They were always creating something, even when they were relaxing. At a meal for the assembled artists there was a sketchbook being passed around. Jean-Michel drew a portrait of (Playboy contributing illustrator) Leroy Neiman – Andy tipped out a bowl of snow peas onto his page, crushed them in, and signed it.”
History is a Nightclub: Downtown AREA, NYC, 1983-87 ran at Peter Harrington, Dover Street, October 2 to 31, 2017.
View a selection from the exhibit via the photo gallery above.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here
[Photo credit: Images by Ben Buchanan, available from peterharrington.co.uk]