east village

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Madonna Polaroids by Richard Corman, 1983.

In June 1983, 24 year old Madonna was rising on the club charts with singles Everybody and Burning Up. Photographer Richard Corman captured pre-fame Madonna at home one month before the release of her debut album. At the time she was living on East 4th Street between Avenue A and B.

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Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

The series of photos exhibits Basquiat photographed by then-girlfriend Alexis Adler. The photos were taken during their time living together in a sixth-floor walk-up in the East Village of Manhattan. Now an embryologist in a fertility lab, Alder was “a Barnard biology grad with a strong hippie streak”, when she met 19-year-old Basquiat in 1979. He was four years her junior, and she and her friends in the club scene had been admiring his street graffiti and SAMO tag all over downtown. During the months they lived together, while Adler worked in a lab at Rockefeller University, he transformed the floors, walls, doors and furniture into his canvas. She saved more than 100 photos, art objects and ephemera from their apartment.

Adler spoke with The New York Times about their time together:

“Our apartment overflowed with art and love… We were punk pioneers homesteading in this ever-evolving remnant of the neighborhood. Art blossomed by feeding off the lawless decay.”

David Wojnarowicz was born on this day in 1954. Untitled (One day this kid …) includes a grainy image of the artist as a child, set within a text he wrote that outlines what he saw the future holding for a queer person. The Whitney will mount the first major, monographic presentation of the artist’s work in over a decade in summer 2018. Explore his work in the Whitney’s collection

[David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One day this kid …), 1990. Photostat, 30 × 40 1/8 in. (76.2 × 101.9 cm). Edition of 10. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Print Committee  2002.183. Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY]

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“The East Village …was just exploding. All kinds of new things were starting. In music, it was the punk and new wave scenes. There was a migration of artists from all over America to New York. It was completely wild. And we controlled it ourselves.” - Keith Haring 

(Rolling Stone Magazine, 1989)

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Untitled by Stefan Georgi