Johannes Vogt Gallery is pleased to present “Exuberant 80s: An East Village Painters Circle”, a group show featuring works made in the early 1980s by six artists who emerged during the height of New York’s vibrant East Village art scene. While diverse in style, the works by Mike Bidlo, Luis Frangella, Judy Glantzman, Rick Prol, Russell Sharon, and David Wojnarowicz, share a revolutionary spirit that breaks with the artistic conventions of their time.
All of these artists brought an idiosyncratic and personal approach to making work and having their voices heard. This exhibition focuses attention on Bidlo’s famous “Not Pollock” paintings; Frangella’s rich, wild, and often in-situ figurative paintings, Glantzman’s expressionistic portraits and carved Plexiglas sculptures, Prol’s eccentric figures, subjects and colors, Sharon’s naïve landscapes in pop colors on stretched plastic along with his wooden furniture and sculptures, and lastly Wojnarowicz’s provocative practice that encompassed painting, sculpture, photography, and more.
These provocative artists were part of a large, but tight-knit community, who socialized together and whose work was often exhibited side-by-side in two- and three-person shows and group exhibits. All six artists participated in the well-documented takeover of Pier 34 in 1983-84, a derelict building on the East River that they turned into a giant experimental exhibition space before being forced out by New York City authorities. Most of them were also featured in the landmark exhibition Neo York organized by the University Art Museum, Santa Barbara in November 1984. They showed their work in pioneering galleries such as Gracie Mansion, Civilian Warfare, and Hal Bromm Gallery as well as in unconventional spaces such as Limbo Lounge and the Mudd Club. They were young and enthusiastic and tended to produce work quickly and exuberantly.
The exhibition has been organized by gallerist Hal Bromm and collector Jane Wesman, friends for decades, who shared many experiences with these artists and who wish to pay tribute to this special time in the art world. In addition to artworks, the exhibition will include photographs and other ephemera from that era.