~’UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . recreated by VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER / incl passing reference to RICHARD HAMBLETON aka SHADOWMAN
LONG LIVE – THE HARDCORE UNDERGROUND !!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’ . . .
was a look-back . . at a slice of the ‘unpublished’ 80s art scene / when the Lower East Side was in its glory days – and when the raging creativity of that era – was at its height, with many of the forces bubbling just underneath the crust, that made that scene so vibrant, still to be acknowledged – by the mainstream record, even today.
in fact, a lot of big powerful dialog, a lot of singular & stubborn art making, and a lot of hustling just to survive, took place right under the ‘cusp’ of that era’s current mainstream recognition / and which might, & mighty ironically . . actually account for its deep-set dynamic – which seems to speaking, in capital letters (!!) to a whole new generation of young artists today – these are 3 artists, whose work is profiled in ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’, are just starting to breakthrough / that tough, top layer of volcanic crust.
of the 3 artists profiled, only one is still around to tell the tale, and that would be: me.
all three of us, very, very different artists, but each in his own way; stubborn and unique, visionaries, hustlers, scenesters, foot soldiers, in a word: art world samurai . . . moved through the scene with great activity and passion . . fueling the emerging scene from within, if not exactly bursting through the top of the crusty mainstream, but lending much credibility to the ones – who did.
we raged on, just below the surface with a singular dog-stubborn, inward indie drive – that still, and maybe even apparently more so / resonates today, and hence . . the show’s title.
the show’s formal curators, THEO & KATE CERIGO, brother and sister, (and children to me & Simon) grew up in the epicenter of the Lower East Side ‘volcano’, in an improvised storefront studio/home smack down . . right in the center of the action, on the corner of Rivington & the Bowery. filled to the primal brim, with not only their parent’s art, but pretty much all of the art, and at its earliest manifestations, that would go on to define the era: Basquiat, Haring, Mariko Mori, Walter Robinson, Jack Goldstein, to name just a few. they, Kate and Theo ran around at many a legendary opening – as toddlers, without quite realizing until maybe high school, what legends they had flitted & played among.
there was a huge cardboard refrigerator box scrawled with an early white chalk angel by KEITH HARING in one corner, and an early Medicine Cabinet canvas by WALTER ROBINSON hanging over the kitchen table, in the make-shift kitchen.
we had originally sublet the storefront in early 1987 from RICHARD HAMBELTON, aka the Shadowman . . who took our rent money but never paid the landlord, and who ran threatening crack-fueled circles around us in the streets, on his small frame bike, while he pimped his girlfriend Bonnie, in black fishnet stockings, a block away on Chrystie St.
but then again, there was the infinitely more talented, and perhaps more tragic BASQUIAT, always stopping to say hello in the local bodega, and who signed exhibition posters for them, that we would be able to go on & sell for thousands, to put food on the table.
it was one hell of a rough and wild, crazy scene.
I remember our horror, when upon bumping into a young JIM JARMUSCH one day, with his huge pompadour hair, 4 yr old Theo inquired of him: “are you a nerd ?”.
and so it went, non-stop.
NICHOLAS STEINDORF, who helped curate & shape the ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ pop-up, [and fast forward to NOW: was to go on, 2 years later, to produce the archival / digital re-creation – that VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER just released], is a friend of Kate’s, who stumbled into each other through a Craig’s List inquiry for a roommate (!!) in Brooklyn.
Nicholas, who had studied art in Chicago, before coming to base himself in New York, and who later went on to achieve his MFA from YALE, is actually one of the very few, if not the ONLY, one of his ‘new wave’ generation / to have actually met Simon, through Kate. Dan was already gone, and therefore Nicholas got to experience in person, the vast oral Lower East Side history – that resided in Simon’s hard partying . . head.
and he also got to see the his art, and Dan’s, and mine – that had up til then / pretty much been stored away.
and it was Nicholas who pretty much said: Kate & Theo, get this work – out there !!
and, this is a tale . . for the telling.
in fact, thinking about it, as I write this, I do think that it was partly his thirst for art history, but more, his having growing up in the cultural ‘backwaters’ of Wisconsin / as opposed to the rich insider ‘Volcano’ life Kate & Theo experienced, that was in key to this whole project, taking shape and getting off the ground.
apparently – in art, just like in science . . when the forces of the outsider – intersect with the insider elements: a great chemistry – is born.
long live the hardcore !!
long live the underground !!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ – a raging & ripping, pop-up show of underground Lower East Side 80s art – was curated by KATE & THEO CERIGO, with inspired input – from NICHOLAS STEINDORF.
running for the weekend of June 6-7 in 2015, in an empty storefront on The Bowery just south of Delancey . . the opening reception on Sat June 6 . . . was packed !!
all new faces, all young artists !!
and now, it lives on, digitally !!
NICHOLAS STEINDORF, has teamed up with the young Paris-based artist JEAN-BAPTISTE LENGLET, to re-create the show / in a digital format on Jean-Baptiste’s . . interactive artists’ web/game online platform: VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ – has the honor of being the FIRST archival re-creation of an exhibit – on the site.
you can enter the show, and walk around it, as it was built-up from archival photographs,
LADIES & GENTLEMEN . . welcome to the interactive archive of the . . FUTURE !!
to get your free DOWNLOAD: go to VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER & HIT – 26.01.2017 VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER 1.1 / under ‘NEWS’
you can see a brief background & history of the ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ digital recreation / also on VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER.
click here: for background / ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ !!
NICHOLAS STEINDORF has just posted a short virtual walk-through (!!) – of the ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . re-creation / VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER . . . on YouTube !!
at some point, through the infinite power of the digital universe . .
NICHOLAS STEINDORF & JEAN BAPTISTE LENGLET . . were able to add a virtual annex or ‘basement’ that was not available in the real world show – in which additional works are showcased !!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’ . . is now global & web – infinite.
archived for-ever !!
who would have thought . . back on the Bowery – in the 80s ?!!
web . . wasn’t even a word, unless you were talking about . . spiders.