Showing posts with label Marc H. Miller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marc H. Miller. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A chance to see some 'Downtown Art Ephemera'

Marc H. Miller is curating a short, two-week exhibit titled "Downtown Art Ephemera, 1970s-1990s," which runs through July 25 at the James Fuentes Gallery, 55 Delancey St. between Allen and Eldridge.

There's a reception today from 5-7 p.m., which provides a good opportunity to see some of the 150 cards and posters from Miller's online Gallery 98 collection.

Per a release on the exhibit:

All the downtown New York art stars of that time are represented ... : Basquiat, Goldin, Haring, Holzer, Hujar, Koons, Mapplethorpe, Piper, Prince, Schnabel, Smith, Sherman, Warhol, Wojnarowicz etc. Sections on Collaborative Projects Inc. (COLAB), Fashion Moda, the Rivington School, Fun Gallery, International with Monument, and Mary Boone Gallery will chronicle a lively and contradictory period when art, commerce, branding, populist politics and issues of identity were all part of the mix.

Miller discusses the exhibit in an article at Vice.

Images via online Gallery 98

Previously on EV Grieve:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Revisiting Punk Art

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Revisiting 'Bettie Visits CBGB'

[Debbie Harry and Bettie Ringma]

Via the EVG inbox...

David Owen, the co-founder of London vintage booksellers IDEA Books Ltd, has chosen Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma's “Bettie Visits CBGB” as what he calls a “Superbook”: a rare work of exceptional cultural significance. Owen makes his point in an entertaining and evocative radio program just released by Radio Wolfgang.

A sound collage that mixes interviews with music, the program evokes the Bowery and the glory years of CBGB, using as its centerpiece this collection of 10 color snapshots in a handmade leatherette portfolio. The photographs in “Bettie Visits CBGB” show a young Dutch woman posing with Patti Smith, Blondie, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and other musicians ...

The program, produced by Olivia Humphreys, provides a human look at a remarkable five-year period of cultural history. Among those interviewed are Ringma and Miller, the creators of the portfolio; painter Curt Hoppe, their Bowery neighbor and collaborator; photographer Roberta Bayley, the doorwoman at CBGB; cartoonist John Holmstrom, the founder of Punk magazine; and Susan Springfield, the singer in the Erasers.

Miller, one of the creators of the portfolio, is founder of the website 98 Bowery and the related Gallery 98. To see pictures from the “Bettie Visits CBGB” series, click here. The radio program can be accessed on the website of Radio Wolfgang.

By the way, CBGB closed nine years ago today.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Q-and-A with Curt Hoppe: Living on the Bowery, finding inspiration and shooting Mr. Softee

Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Q-and-A with John Holmstrom, founding editor of Punk Magazine

John Holmstrom on the CBGB movie and the East Village of 2013

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the Bowery: CBGB and its impact on the visual arts and downtown nightlife

There's an interesting talk set for tomorrow night at the New Museum on the Bowery titled "Parallel Lines: Visual Art, CBGB, and Downtown Nightlife."

Here's a blurb about it:

A panel discussion about the impact of CBGB and the downtown club scene on the visual arts from 1975-1985. The participants are John Holmstrom, Pat Place, Marcia Resnick and Arturo Vega.

Marc H. Miller is serving as the moderator. We asked him to recall his first visit to CBGB, circa 1976:

"When I first walked into CBGB, I was surprised to see so many visual artists that I knew from Soho and Tribeca. Some were in bands, others had friends in bands and helped out by making posters and stuff, some took photographs, most just hung out. The funny thing was that nobody wanted to be called an artist. The art world seemed phony and pretentious at the time. The favorite word was “boring.” People were looking for action, for something real, for something that actually had an audience. The music scene provided an opening."

The panel is part of the ongoing "Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989" exhibit that runs through Jan. 6. (Tickets for the discussion are $8.)

And because I've only posted this video of one of my favorite songs 12-13 times on this site ... here we have the Bush Tetras, with Pat Place, on the Bowery...

[Image via Marc H. Miller]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Q-and-A with Leonard Abrams, publisher of the East Village Eye

[The first issue of East Village Eye in May 1979]

Marc H. Miller recently passed along word about the latest edition to Gallery 98, the online store for the 98 Bowery website.

Miller has obtained a nearly complete set of the East Village Eye, the influential arts newspaper/magazine hybrid that published 72 issues from May 1979 through January 1987.

So I thought this might be an opportune time to interview Leonard Abrams, who was 24 when he started the Eye in early 1979. With an array of unpaid contributors, including Richard Hell, Cookie Mueller, Glenn O’Brien and David Wojnarowicz, the Eye wrote about the neighborhood's emerging art scene as well as provided ample music coverage.

His post-Eye career included opening Hotel Amazon, which brought warehouse-style parties to a former LES school featuring, among many others, De La Soul, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys.

Today, Abrams lives in Williamsburg. In recent years he made the documentary "Quilombo Country" narrated by Chuck D about a community founded by escaped slaves in Brazil. Meanwhile, he has been working on publishing the entire Eye archive online in searchable PDFs accessible for free. ("This is imminent," he says.)

You were 24 when you launched the Eye in 1979. Being pretty young, were there any issues with people taking you seriously as a publisher at the onset?

People thought I was older. Then after the Eye folded they thought I was younger. Actually at the time a lot of people in the scene pretended they were younger so as not to be thought of as hippie interlopers.

But as I recall, there was such a feeling of newness to what we were doing that no one seemed to feel they could pull rank on the basis of age. And finally, I think that people take longer to get going these days. 24 isn't really that young. I started a paper in Denver when I was 21. That was young.

Did it seem as if you were onto something special at the time with the Eye?

Oh yes. I really felt the weight of it at times. In fact I probably would have pulled the plug a lot earlier but that I felt it was too important not to keep doing it. It's not that we were saving lives [we probably cost a few] but just helping sustain an atmosphere where people could feel so much was possible was very important. And feeling we were remapping the brain was heady, as it were.

What was a typical scene like at the Eye office?

We started at 167 Ludlow then moved to I think 54 East 3rd Street then to 120 St. Marks Place then to 605 East 9th Street then to 611 Broadway. A typical scene was me fighting with music editor and typesetter Celeste-Monique Lindsey over something political and/or inconsequential, people coming in for their mail or to pick up a copy, us on the phone trying to get everyone to hand in their stories on time even though they were writing for free and, the last week of the month, a frenzy of editing, typing and pasting-up.

Kind of stuff that seemed more fun after it was over.

[The Eye staff circa 1985, courtesy of Leonard Abrams]

Do you think something like the East Village Eye could work today (print or online) or do you think the days of any kind of scene here are long over?

I really don't know. Today it's so easy to communicate that it's almost like the communication takes the place of the action. Mind you, we were mostly communicating about communication anyway, but still...

The physical limitations of distribution make a difference too. We sent the Eye out all over the country [in a limited way], but I think text is taken more seriously 1) when you have to pay for it and 2) when there isn't so much of it around.

Still, the kind of scene there was at the time was based on a lot of people doing things out of their own need for self-expression, and now, at least in New York, we have a regime in which hierarchy and monetization, the antitheses of creativity, are the starting points. Thus we need to convince Mayor Bloomberg to immolate himself. While we wait for that to happen, someone should step up and print something.

How about Hotel Amazon? Do you think a space like that could work today on the Lower East Side?

I'd like to see one. Especially since a lot of the spaces in the neighborhood are staffed by clueless snotnoses. But what do you expect? It's the club industry. When Hotel Amazon started I was fairly clueless myself, I was just lucky to be around when hip hop was fresh and generating tons of great acts all the time. The other problem is the great increase in legalism and regulation. The Hotel Amazon was illegal in all kinds of ways. Otherwise it would never have happened. But look at Rubulad. They still manage to throw a bash.

What are you most proud of with the Eye?

I'm most proud of having gotten so many of them out. And hearing someone say something like "I moved to NY because I read the Eye in my home state." I was gratified to have published columns by David Wojnarowicz and Glenn O'Brien and Cookie Mueller and Richard Hell. And to have been told that the term "hip hop" was first printed in the Eye. And to have presented so many idiosyncratic voices in such a deadpan manner, as if what they said was as obvious as the weather. That was fun.

[East Village Eye covers courtesy of Marc H. Miller and 98 Bowery]

For further reading on EV Grieve:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Revisiting Punk Art

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bettie and the Ramones head back to the Bowery

Starting on Sept. 19, the New Museum is paying tribute to the "original artwork, ephemera and performance documentation" by artists who lived and worked on or near the Bowery.

The exhibit is titled "Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989." Per the release:

During these two decades, the Bowery was commonly identified with the furthest extremes of metropolitan decline — municipal neglect, homelessness, and substance abuse. As landlords and civil services abandoned the neighborhood, the subsequent cheap rents and permissive atmosphere drew artists downtown.

The Bowery’s lofts provided a social network where painters, photographers, performance artists, musicians, and filmmakers exchanged ideas and drew inspiration from this concentration of creative activity.

The collection has been assembled from the New Museum's own collection as well as 98 Bowery, the online portal that Marc H. Miller curates. (You can read our Q-and-A with Miller here.)

Miller told us that the Museum will be exhibiting Bettie & the Ramones, which marks the first time that Curt Hoppe's painting has been shown publicly since 1978. (The piece was part of the the Punk Art Exhibition in Washington D.C. in 1978. Read more about that here.)

[Photo by Marc H. Miller & Bettie Ringma]

Miller now owns the painting, and on Wednesday, workers packed it up for the trip from his Brooklyn home to the Bowery....

[Photos courtesy of 98 Bowery via Facebook]

In an interview with us in February 2010, Hoppe shared his favorite Ramones story:

My best memory about the Ramones has got to be when they signed the painting Bettie and the Ramones back in 1978. You can’t imagine the thrill of carrying that big 4’ x 6’ painting down the Bowery and getting the Ramones to specially come over to CBs in the afternoon just to sign it. Tommy was still in the group. They all just stood there staring at it. I think Joey was the only one who really got it.

Dee Dee was all hyper and kept asking their manager Danny Fields if it was OK to sign it. Then Johnny asked, "Who's Bettie?" I replied, "She's every Fan." When we carried that autographed painting back to 98, Marc, Bettie and I were just flying. I love the Ramones.

[Via Curt Hoppe's website, where you can find more of the Ramones]

The Bowery exhibition will include works by Barbara Ess, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Keith Haring, John Holmstrom, Hoppe, Colette Lumiere, Miller, Adrian Piper, Adam Purple, Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Marcia Resnick, Bettie Ringma, Christy Rupp, Arleen Schloss, Charles Simonds, Eve Sonneman, Billy Sullivan, Paul Tschinkel, Arturo Vega and Martin Wong.

Read the release about "Come Closer" here.

For further reading on EV Grieve:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Revisiting Punk Art

Q-and-A with Curt Hoppe: Living on the Bowery, finding inspiration and shooting Mr. Softee

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

East Village history, now more interactive

[Click to enlarge]

Marc H. Miller told us yesterday about his new website for the comic-style pictorial maps that he has published at Ephemera Press since 2001. The East Village map now has a new scroll-over effect ... (Look at the site here to figure out what we're talking about...)

Illustrators James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook created the original East Village map, which features a walking-tour guide to the neighborhood's historic sites. The itinerary includes 68 East Village spots, each briefly described, and located on a secondary map specifically designed for those visiting the area. (Those who care about the history and not the bars...) For instance, the map lists all six addresses that Alan Ginsberg had in the neighborhood... as well as the location of Andy Warhol's first New York apartment on Avenue A ... among many other notable addresses...

Miller also has maps for other parts of the city, such as the Harlem Renaissance and Queens Jazz Trail, both illustrated by Tony Millionaire.

For further reading on EV Grieve about Marc H. Miller:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Revisiting Punk Art

Friday, June 10, 2011

Introducing Gallery 98

Marc H. Miller passes along word about the latest edition to the 98 Bowery website ...

For collectors interested in New York’s downtown art scene circa 1980, the website 98 Bowery has debuted a unique online gallery featuring ephemera, multiples and one-of-a-kind artworks connected to the radical art group Collaborative Projects Inc. (aka “Colab”).

During its short but eventful history, Colab left its mark with exhibitions like the Times Square Show and the Real Estate Show, the affiliated alternative spaces Fashion Moda in the South Bronx and ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side, and a succession of pop-up “A More Stores” featuring low-priced artist multiples. Working collectively, the group was an incubator for ideas and a launching pad for member artists like Jenny Holzer, Tom Otterness, and Kiki Smith. Every item listed on Gallery 98 dates from Colab’s prime years, 1975 – 1985.

Among the items:

Find more here.

For further reading on EV Grieve:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Revisiting Punk Art

Q-and-A with Curt Hoppe: Living on the Bowery, finding inspiration and shooting Mr. Softee

Voices from 98 Bowery's past

Friday, April 30, 2010

Looking at "ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery"

[Exterior of ABC No Rio's Animals Living in Cities show with dog stencils by Anton Van Dalen, 1980. Photo by Anton Van Dalen]

Marc H. Miller sent along a note to tell me about a major addition to the 98 Bowery Web site ... Indeed.

The previously out-of-print book ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery from 1985 is now online. Miller and Alan Moore edited the book.

Here's more about what you'll find from the 200-page book that's now all online ...

With new layouts and color scans, the online version of ABC No Rio Dinero preserves the early history of a pioneer Lower East Side art space that was the unplanned progeny of the "Real Estate Show," an illegal exhibition in an abandoned, city-owned building squatted by artists on New Year’s Eve 1980.

[Outside the "Real Estate Show" at 125 Delancey. Photo by Anne Messner]

Compiling art and articles from the period, sections of the book spotlight Collaborative Projects Inc. (Colab), the Time Square Show, the South Bronx art space Fashion-Moda, Group Material, PADD, and East Village music and art in the 1980s. Amongst the featured artists and writers are young, up-and-comers of the 1980s like Kiki Smith, Tom Otterness, John Ahearn, Tim Rollins, Walter Robinson, Jeffrey Deitch, and Bob Holman; the No Rio stalwarts Becky Howland, Bobby G, Peter Cramer and Jack Waters; photographers Martha Cooper, Lisa Kahane, and Tom Warren; and established voices like Lucy Lippard, and -- in a poetry section edited by Josh Gosciak -- Amiri Baraka, Miguel Pinero

[ABC No Rio at night during the Tube World exhibition. Photo by Jody Culkin]

The photo below is from the Crime Show, from Jan. 15-Feb. 6, 1982. According to the book: "The Crime Show, organized by John Spencer, had the biggest crowd of any opening, perhaps an indication of the relevance of the theme. For years, the economy of the Lower East Side was to a great extent based upon organized crime -- the sale of drugs, and illicit industry involving entire families in its wide range of tasks. Crime of all kinds in the neighborhood remains high. One artist experienced this first-hand on her way home from an opening when she was mugged in the subway. It is probably safe to say that every artist on the Lower East Side knows someone who has been mugged or robbed. Household burglaries are endemic, as the heavy gates on neighborhood windows testify."

[Photo by Harvey Wang]

The book also includes the orignal ads... "The ABC No Rio book was a labor of love mostly pushed by volunteer labor. Along the way a few small grants paid for typesetting, veloxes and other preparatory material. However, as the book neared completion a daunting financial reality confronted us: we needed a substantial sum to get the 200-page book printed. The solution was advertisements placed in the back of the book. Bettie Ringma volunteered to be our ad representative and quickly discovered receptive clients among the galleries representing No Rio artists and the many fledgling businesses betting their fortunes on the emergence of the East Village as a trendy art center. Today these advertisements gathered in 1985 are a time capsule of the first moments in the careers of up-and-coming artists and of some of the early hot spots of the short-lived East Village art scene."

Here are a sampling of the ads:

As Marc says, the ABC No Rio art space is still going strong today, maintaining a commitment to an interactive aesthetic that mixes art, politics and community.

And as you know, ABC Rio will soon begin construction of a new facility.

Find the whole ABC Rio book here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Friday, July 10, 2009

Revisiting Punk Art

Back in May, we did an interview with Marc H. Miller, the founder and director of Ephemera Press. He had launched 98 Bowery: 1969-1989 — View From the Top Floor.

Marc recently wrote to me about a new section on the 98 Bowery site: Punk Art. As he notes at 98 Bowery:

As Bettie Ringma and I watched various musicians at CBGB successfully launched under the rubric of Punk Rock, it occurred to us that we might do the same for the visual artists who were part of the extended scene. It was partly tongue-in-cheek, partly hype, but secretly we actually believed we were presenting something new and important. The year was 1978 and the show we mounted with Alice Denney at the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC has gone down in history as the world's first Punk Art exhibition ... We repeated the Punk Art show twice: first as a one night, multimedia event at the School of Visual Arts in New York (November 1978) and then in a small exhibition at Art Something in Amsterdam, Holland (June 1979).

Miller has posted the long out-of-print Punk Art catalogue, which features new pictures and video. He also rewrote the introductions, adding stories connected to the exhibition, and updates on the artists.

My favorite section is on Punk Magazine. Or maybe the section on Alan Suicide and Art-Rite magazine. Or...

Here are the covers to the first three issues of Punk...

...and an ad featuring Debbie Harry (photographed by Chris Stein)

Anyway, you can go here and see it all for yourself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Marc H. Miller enjoys telling stories through pictures, something he has done during his career as an educator, writer, photographer and museum curator.

Late last year, Miller, the founder and director of Ephemera Press, launched 98 Bowery: 1969-1989 — View From the Top Floor. The content-rich Web site is a pictorial account of Miller's life in a 2,000-square-foot loft space at 98 Bowery and of the broader creative community that flourished in the Lower East Side from 1969 to 1989.

As he notes on the site: "'View from the Top Floor'" brings together some of these stories in a chronicle of my life and the creative world I experienced during the 20 years I lived ... at 98 Bowery."

Last spring, Miller was preparing to move to Brooklyn Heights after 20 years of living in Park Slope. In his basement, he found dozens of long-forgotten boxes containing photos and other documents from his years on the Bowery.

A portrait of Miller by Carla Dee Ellis circa 1969

In a Q-and-A with EV Grieve done via e-mail, Miller talks about launching, his days on the Bowery and his view of the LES today.

When did the 98 Bowery site launch?

The 98 Bowery Web site just naturally happened. There was all this material about events that had seemed so important in the 1970s and 80s; things that I had totally repressed and forgotten. I just felt compelled to get it out again. Everything about the site — the name, the content, the way it’s organized — was totally clear right from the start. The site really started moving last December when a young Web designer, Haoyan of America, began helping me. It is now about two-thirds complete. It has become a very compulsive thing. I just want to finish it. It has been very liberating.

What originally drew you to living on the Bowery?

In the late 1960s, it was totally impossible to find a place in New York. My friend John Wilmer, who moved to New York from California at the same time I did to study at the School of Visual Arts, found a short sublet at 96 Bowery and heard that 98 was going to be rented out to artists. He was the one who originally signed the lease but it took so long for the landlord Sol Fried to get the place legalized that John gave up and returned to California.

By that time I was living with a painter, Carla Dee Ellis, and we jumped at the chance of getting the loft. We were living in a tiny apartment on Thompson Street. It was all about getting space then. We were from California. Carla grew up in the desert near Palm Springs where her back yard extended all the way to the horizon. But in the end what was really great about the loft was not just the space but that it was our entry point into the art world. is about a social network.

Harry Mason at Harry's Bar

Your site includes a section with photos of Harry Mason, proprietor of Harry's Bar, which was located on the ground floor at 98 Bowery. What is your favorite memory from Harry's Bar?

In the late 1970s my partner Bettie Ringma was working as a tour guide. When the tour buses came down Bowery she always pointed out where we lived and talked about the men on the street. One time, right before Thanksgiving, a German tourist gave her $50 to get a turkey for the patrons of Harry’s Bar. Bettie cooked the turkey and brought it downstairs where it was well-received. We learned though that most of the men at the bar were so far gone physically they could barely eat. Harry’s Bar was not a place that you really want to romanticize. That night when we watched the news on television there was a story about Cardinal O’Connor serving turkey three blocks down at the Bowery Mission. I couldn’t help but feel that Bettie and the German tourist made a better story.

You spent two years in Holland from 1979-1981. Was there a noticeable difference to the Bowery upon your return?

When we returned in 1981 the whole East Village thing was beginning to happen. It was sort of like a generational switch. All of the young artists who were on the outside in the late 1970s were suddenly taking over and being imitated. Those were exciting but also frustrating times. The scene was exploding but it was also being defined by newcomers and distorted in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I recently saw an issue of the East Village Eye from around 1982 with a cartoon cover about the death of Punk Magazine by John Holmstrom, one of the magazine’s founders. The cartoon showed John and his cohort Legs McNeil sitting on a street corner looking depressed in their late-70s-style black leather jackets. All around them are people with Mohawks and wild, animal patterned outfits. The caption reads, “Well Legs, I guess we blew it.” During the early 1980s, I became involved with the Lower East Side gallery ABC No Rio, wrote a column for the East Village Eye and did video interviews for a video magazine on art, ART/new york.

Captain Sensible of the Damned with Bettie Ringma at CBGB

What are your thoughts on the Bowery as you see it today?

[The late] Marcia Tucker was a classmate of mine in graduate school and I’m really glad to see the New Museum grow so large and move to the Bowery. I’m also impressed with Ethan Swan’s Bowery Artist Tribute at the New Museum and the map of Bowery artists they created for the Internet. It was when I started pulling together some pictures and information for that project and was interviewed by Ethan on video about my experiences on the Bowery that I actually began my 98Bowery Web site.

What do you want people who visit to take away from the site?

The site is my story and the story of people I knew and worked with. It’s also unavoidably a small lens on the bigger downtown art and music scene in the 1970s and 1980s. During those years, I had no doubt that I was at the heart of the action, and I want people to see things as I experienced them. History can be very selective but it can also be nudged along by good story telling. That’s what I try to do with the site. Some of the events and some of the people are fairly well-known. Others are less so. Hopefully the site will give people a bigger picture of those years.

I’m also hopeful that the site will give people a fuller picture of who I am. I’ve lived a varied life. At various times I’ve been an art historian, conceptual artist, photographer, newspaper columnist, magazine journalist, video art interviewer, museum curator and publisher. People usually know me through just one of those identities and those that do know me through multiple identities usually don’t fully understand how they connect.

To me though, it’s all one thing. I like telling stories with pictures. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m doing with the 98Bowery Web site. It brings together new picture stories and picture stories I did previously in many different formats that tell about my world from 1969-1989.

Miller with Al Goldstein