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Where the neon signs are pretty

The Guardian on how downtown New York changed British theatre:

Wandering recently through the Barbican’s brilliant exhibition on the New York downtown scene of the early 1970s, I felt I was encountering not just a curated series of works, but the memory of a place. Here were the fragments of a particular moment in a particular city; an archive of encounters with New York itself. New York is a city uniquely fixated on its own re-invention. The work of the artists in this exhibition isn’t so much a product of that restless environment as a set of strategies for thinking about and encountering it. This is work that embeds itself in the city, that navigates you through it.

3:AM‘s Andrew Stevens on the fall and rise of Downtown literature:

The so-called brat pack of Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney may nowadays be considered at one with the literary establishment (Tama Janovitz has also slid out of recent obscurity and signed with Scott Pack’s Friday Project) but traces of the Downtown heyday remain. The Prix de Flore-winning Bruce Benderson is releasing a new collection of essays and commentary, Sex and Isolation, which deals with the post-Downtown subcultures. And Between C & D co-editor Joel Rose‘s Downtown classic Kill Kill Faster Faster has been given the big screen treatment, which could well propel the book into the commercial big league. It may be difficult for some to believe that the Downtown scene of the 70s and 80s ever existed, but developments such as these do much to keep its lineage alive.

Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s
3 March 2011 – 22 May 2011
Barbican Art Gallery
Tickets: £8 online/£10 on the door

First posted: Monday, March 28th, 2011.

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