~UP-DATE: BEN BUCHANAN & THE SHADOWMAN / & PLEASE: skip the femmes . . curators: Alfie & Jelly !!

back when New York City – rhymed with GRITTY.

there was a guy I call . . . friggin LCR / or: LITTLE ‘CRACKHEAD’ RICHARD

who wasn’t pretty.

and, friggin friggin please !!
LEAVE THE GIRLS – OUT OF IT.
LEAVE THE GIRLS – ALONE.

‘The Shadowman Meets the Feminine’ . . co-curated by ALFREDO MARTINEZ & JULIA MORRISON
CONTRA GALLERY, CHELSEA / OPENED OCT 11, 2018

‘The Shadowman Meets The Feminine’ ?
hands down, the worst title of a show . . . e-v-e-r.
Alfie, whatever . . were you thinking ?

but, esp with regard to . . POOR LITTLE RICHARD HAMBLETON.
he really was a rat. & an infected rat, at that.
a thief, and a crackhead,
and above all else, a total . . . MISOGYNIST.

HAMBLETON was the late 20th C. street art equivalent . . of HARVEY WEINSTEIN / a real predator.
and a nasty nasty one – at that. there’s no celebration in this sorry ass art life story. why do people glorify it ?
if my keyboard had emoji digits, I would be inserting a string of vomiting yellow faces right now.

I can tell you first-hand / from living just around the corner – from that vomit-inducing character . . . in the Lower east Side, in the 1980s, that he whored his girlfriends, & in particular one pretty red-haired one, (when she first arrived), name of Bonnie . . who followed him all the way down from Vancouver Canada . . .
he had her out there on Chrystie St, when it was truly, truly the devil’s Playground / in the hard-core hooker’s uniform of the day, micro-skirt and black fishnet stockings / & now with the bad skin of a druggie, luring trashy, dangerous druggie / criminal / etc lowlifes . .
& getting in their cars – for $5 blowjobs, or worse.
who else would want to touch her ?

we lived in the east storefront of 5 Rivington St., just 2 doors up from the Bowery at the time.
long story short: Simon (Cerigo, my hubby) had sublet the storefront from Richard, who had used it as a studio, while he ‘lived’ in an apt on the first floor / until he moved around the corner to Chrystie when his career ‘took off’.
we paid something like $600/month. We had just gotten gentrified out of a great loft space in Tribeca, on Franklin St., and this was all Simon & me could afford. and, had the paperwork for, & that’s a joke, btw . . . no ‘pay stubs’ needed in the L.E.S.of the 80s / the storefronts in particular – were all but abandoned, and boarded-up. crime was rife, homeless bums lined the Bowery, and flopped everywhere, competing for turf with very hardcore, and I mean heavy-duty drug dealers.
basically you kept your eyes averted at all times.
there were drug battles / cops vs dealers / dealers vs dealers / with guns & bad knives / overhead on the rooftops, and down on the streets, and through the alleys, basically 24/7.

I cried when we moved in, I had one small child and the only thing that sustained me was the ‘art’ that coursed through the nabe / just as much as the drugs. and we are talking heavy-duty drugs here, not hipster pot & designer ‘jellies’. you kind of skipped over the over-dosed, and most likely dead / like hop scotch. the storefront, which was large enough, was painted entirely black / black as night – over 100% of the surface; walls, ceiling, and even the floors . . were painted black.
black paint even covered the one back window.
Paint it black, was no longer just another teen anthem, from my suburban Montreal, coming-of-age rebellion.

ok, so fast forward a month, once we painted the place . . white, it wasn’t so bad.
we had the entire floor from back-to-front / big enough to be both studio for 2 artists, & with a high enough ceiling to paint big canvases, when we had the money, and a big enough space to store the paintings we bought and then flipped, when we had the money / including an early Jack Goldstein ‘Lightning’ (!!) . . . and to this day his largest, btw.
and a decent enough living space in back.
and, it was a great location.
location, location, location is everything, it was the friggin bleeding heart of the 80s.
we dealt . . in paintings fresh off the easel, or in Keith Harings’ case, fresh off the subway wall / and, high-end audio equipment, including very expensive tube amplifiers.
we were like the mini-Marakesh / black market . . of the Lower East Side.

for a few years Simon even had a legit gallery on Ave A & 12th St. Basquiat and Haring lived around the corner.
it was a short stroll to the Red Bar, and to any gallery that was worth seeing / from like 14th St. over to Soho . . was walking distance. Nothing was happening anywhere else, not midtown, not uptown, let alone Brooklyn. forget Queens.
walking there . . was a process, in and of itself. artists, dealers (drug dealers) and thieves mixing it up / the mafia had their HQ in Rays pizza shop on Prince St. / on many an afternoon I saw Simon and the real John Gotti . . crossing the corner / shoulder-to-shoulder, kings of different countries – unknown to each other / but, right in same ‘macho’ stride / & same build.
short & stocky, but all muscle.
in a word: PUNKS.


NANCY SMITH, & SIMON CERIGO . . . with Kate and Theo,
in front of the storefront we sublet from Richard Hambleton, 5 Rivington St, Lower East Side, NYC, ca 1989.
Photo: Scot Harrison

yeah, back in the day / when NYC rhymed with . . Gritty.

we painted the place all white, and erected . . literally, a concrete ‘bunker’ in front of the boarded-up storefront / which was once was a window. so it was very safe, inside. and everything was cool, until Little ‘Crackhead’ Richard took our rent, and didn’t pay the landlord.
about a year into living there, & then it was . . all-out war.

Simon was kind of a naturally built fighter / a natural-born street thug, a punk with a trigger temper, and a chip on his shoulder & raw, ancient Greek fisherman DNA roots. so Little ‘Crackhead’ Richard . . ran to the other side of the street when he saw him coming.
I, on the other hand had a toughness that wasn’t so obvious, but I loved those mean streets, and they loved me back. Richard once tried to run me over, with his stupid little black bike, and I mean really !!!
with viciousness in his heart, and in his intention. high on the evil crack.
yo, some pretty heavy street dealers, were a witness, and boy did they a-come running to my defense.
needless to say, that was last time, LCR / Little ‘Crackhead’ Richard . . . messed with me.

long story even shorter:
we ended up in landlord tenant court for 9 years, and we didn’t pay rent, not one thin dime for the entire 9 years. you can’t rent sub-standard non-code places – to families, with young children, even sub-tenants, in NYC.
when the Lower East Side really blew up, they paid us $80,000 cold hard cash / to get the hell, out.
5 Rivington, East Storefront, is now a 5 star hipster / Japanese upscale lifestyle joint, called ‘Green Fingers Market’, (!!), and the rent is something like $12 grand, or was it $20 grand / a month, I stopped counting years, ago.


so, do I really want to promote, let alone, review a show – on Richard Hambleton. what do you think ?
esp, one with such a lame – title ?
Alfie, whatever were you thinking ?
I know, let me guess. the pot of gold, at the end of the art market rainbow.
long live dead artists . . !!!!!!
long live dead Street artists . . even more !!!!
they are even better after the fact – that’s fer sure. & a hell of a lot easier to deal with, too.
dead.

ps: dig that bulldog clip – keeping the cold out. classic Hambleton.


RICHARD HAMBLETON – LOS ANGELES, 1986 / PHOTO BY: BEN BUCHANAN

good grief.
I know talking bad about the dead is in poor form, but wtf ??!!!
I always knew Basquiat would be a real long term contender, but LCR ? / Little ‘Crackhead’ Richard ?
never.
we had a piece of his, and dumped it as soon as possible. double your money – and, out.
listen up my young millennials / there’s gold in them thar trash / where you least expect it.


no, my interest lies more in the . . . back story.

with BEN BUCHANAN, who has a small wall of his archival photos / now art world legends, and a couple of Hambeltons pieces,
at Contra, a seedy enough spot btw, as to provide some strange relief / from the endless hipster-dom of Brooklyn, Ridgewood, and Queens.

BEN, now located in London, was a 20-something stumbling about the scene, like we all were.
like: this is just New York Friggin City – party on !!!
when his boss at AREA, gave him those famous last words:
“YO, YOU !! YES, YOU KID !! – TAKE SOME PHOTOS !!!!!!”


accidental photographer, BEN BUCHANAN . . photog of art world legends, including Basquiat & yes, even LCR / Little ‘Crackhead’ Richard.

so, fast forward to last night, OCT 12, 2018 / thanks to the show’s co-curator, Alfredo Martinez,
who has a friendship with Ben going back decades, here, here in this grimy, almost forsaken Chelsea ‘street art’ gallery of a puppy mill, here’s the accidental photog, with a big grin, and why the F, not ?
cool AF, indeed.

and with a couple of LCR / Little ‘Crackhead’ Hambleton paintings, that he prob got off Poor Richard . . for ciggie money, and that he’s now hoping to get big bucks for / the ‘golden’ one above to the left, and the larger ‘Shadowman’ . . behind him.
grin away, dude – all the power to ya.
you deserve every penny you get. it’s the early pix, that make these short-lived legends, that burst so gloriously into flames, and died too soon, come to life.


‘JMB /JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT . . at Boy George’s birthday party at AREA, NYC. 1985’.
PHOTO BY BEN BUCHANAN, PRINTED 2018 / EDITION 1/5.


‘JMB Needle on the record at AREA NYC 1985’.
PHOTO BY BEN BUCHANAN, PRINTED 2018 / EDITION 1/5


a RICHARD HAMBLETON painting, from his own collection,
which photog Ben Buchanan has up for sale at . . CONTRA GALLERY.
along with his photographs.
hey . . as I was told, a few times !! / artnet sold a Hambleton for over $150,000 last week !!


at the opening:
BEN BUCHANAN, and co-curator of ‘The Shadowman meets the Feminine’ . . ALFREDO MARTINEZ.
(Alfie was up all night, hanging the show.)
lol, unraveling the artlovers code:
he’s . . Alfie when he got dough / and just plain Alfredo the rest of the time.


JELLY aka JULIA MORRISON, the other curator of the show, with her own, (2) coming of age . . paintings.


I SPY WITH MY LITTLE, not . . crackhead eye:
an ALFREDO MARTINEZ gun painting on the wall.
what, dated 2013 ?
I told you, his (current) work was – all sold out !!


OUT OF SIGHT, in Los Vegas, BUT NOT . . FORGOTTEN !!
a knock-dead gorgeous / ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ LIGHT-BOX – by JOSH HARRIS.

‘PSEUDO’ BOSS & MILLENNIUM PARTY ‘QUIET’ MC . . yes, that JOSH ‘LUVVY’ HARRIS.
to be played by the super hot !! JONAH HILL / in a ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ / TAKE-TWO . . .
a BEN STILLER helmmed Hollywood feature re-make / coming to a theater near you . . . soon.

a classic . . . ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ light-box – by the man / JOSH HARRIS himself !!!!!!
I’d scoop that up, in a nano-second, if I had a pocketful of cash, no doubt about it.
ah, thank god the (mainstream) art world is full of dummies, or else, where would I . . be ?
or: you could put it this way / thank god I have no pocket full of dough, or I’d just be buying, and not writing / and laughing . . like a little piggy / all the way home.

PHOTOS OF THE OPENING: NANCY SMITH