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East Village photographer Bobby Grossman brings back the vintage NYC art and music scene with exhibit

5 min read
East Village photographer Bobby Grossman brings back the vintage NYC art and music scene with exhibit

There’s a likelihood that if you were being hanging close to downtown NYC in the late 70’s/early 80’s with a digital camera, you’ve bought some cool shots of your close friends that are sitting down in a scrapbook somewhere. Bobby Grossman surely does, but his pals were being Chris Stein, Debbie Harry, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Byrne, Andy Warhol — you get the thought.

Taken mostly among 1976 and 1983, the silver gelatin prints on the wall in his new solo display “Low Fidelity” at the Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive are a seem into a rather unseen stash, as the illustrations or photos have not been as broadly disseminated as people by some of his friends. About 25% of the photos on the partitions have in no way been posted prior to.

Most of the illustrations or photos ended up taken not for assignments or even documentary needs, but simply just due to the fact Grossman appreciated using pictures of his globe, sometimes using pictures as an ice-breaker.

“I am essentially a shy man or woman,” he admits. “It was much easier to fulfill persons with a digital camera.”

Immediately after finding out art at RISD, Grossman landed in the Chelsea Resort in home 911, throughout from the famous composer Virgil Thomson. Performing for his father’s shirt manufacturing unit gave him an income which he supplemented with illustration assignments from publications these kinds of as Rock Magazine, Rolling Stone, Soho Weekly News and a handful of “girlie mags” in advance of likely on to come to be illustrator Richard Bernstein’s assistant.

But “going out in the night became more crucial,” he mused. “I was at the proper location at the suitable time. I feel incredibly lucky to have been there – minimal by little I managed to meet everyone that I wanted to fulfill.”

Whilst Grossman had a feeling that his images had some value, it was seminal hip-hop artist Fab 5 Freddy who drove the place home. “What you are performing is really important,” Freddy would remind him. “And he was correct — glance at the archive that I’ve received 40 many years later.”

East Village photographer Bobby Grossman brings back the vintage NYC art and music scene with exhibit
Bobby Grossman at Bleecker and Bowery , with the Shepard Fairey mural that makes use of his Debbie Harry photograph as supply productPhoto by Bob Krasner
Graphic Designer/ Artist Marlene Weisman getting her copy of “Bande A Element “, a selection of vintage downtown NYC images, signed by GrossmanPicture by Bob Krasner
An angelic Bobby Grossman with artist Colette at the openingPicture by Bob Krasner
Bobby Grossman and Patti Astor, continue to possessing enjoyableImage by Bob Krasner
Walter Steding and Grossman in entrance of a pic of Steding from 1979. Steding is wearing the precise identical hat in the picture. “It’s Halston”, he claimed.”It’s excellent.”Image by Bob Krasner

Hunting at that function hung at Howl!, a person is engaged in “an personal, wonderful journey through NYC’s underground artwork and tunes scene,” according to Cynthia Sley, founding member of the Bush Tetras.

Godlis, the photographer acknowledged for his legendary late evening readily available light-weight photographs taken in an out of CBGB’s, appreciates the absolutely unique method taken by Grossman, who practically generally employed a flash.

“His fast easy taking pictures type was truly an artist’s assertion in by itself,” he opines. “He shot shots like his existence was changed by rock and roll.”

Whitney Newman, an artist who arrived from Atlanta to show up at the opening, noted that “these photos were being born in this article and it is like they have come back again property — this function is like a prolonged awaited, joyful reunion.”

For some even though, it’s a bittersweet experience. Patti Astor, co-founder of the 1st East Village gallery, “Fun Gallery,” looked all-around and said,” I’m near to tears – it’s not like on the lookout again, it is like remaining there once more. To me they’re just my good friends, and so quite a few are long gone.”

Musician and painter Walter Steding, represented by a portrait from 1979, is 1 continue to standing and was evidently delighted to be there.

“It’s just fantastic!” he exclaims. “It still feels fresh. Look at that shot of Jean-Michel — he’s sitting on a chair that I still have.”

L-R: Oscar O’Brien (son of the late Glenn O’Brien), Bobby Grossman, Emily PavisImage by Bob Krasner
Godlis, a modern of Grossman, pointed out that the their styles were being distinctive but complimentaryPhoto by Bob Krasner
Photographer Dustin Pittman, left, snapped photos and reminisced with GrossmanPhoto by Bob Krasner

It is not just the veterans of the scene who value Grossman’s get the job done, however.

20-1 12 months previous Emily Pavis selected to produce about the photographer for a New University assignment soon after discovering him by way of the son of the late writer Glenn O’Brien — who was known for, amongst other factors, staying the to start with editor of Warhol’s “Interview” journal and developing the nearby cable present “TV Get together,” wherever Grossman was “unofficially the formal photographer.”

“Bobby’s photography truly implies so a lot to me,” Pavis shares. “The photos lose light on a time time period that seems so distant from now. Candid pics of William S. Burroughs, Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry that expose creativity and artistry ahead of the interruptions and implications of social media and electronic technological know-how. They also provide as a time capsule to commemorate and keep in mind individuals we have shed.”

Grossman remaining the scene for awhile, living in Florida where by he “took a zillion pics of my dog” and prepared for a e book that is just now turning into a reality, about 12 yrs just after he commenced to set it with each other.

With the assist of The Waverly Press and a just declared Kickstarter hard work, the prepared 224-site opus will include things like a go over image of Debbie Harry that Shepard Fairey made use of as the basis for his Blondie mural on Bowery and Bleecker, as very well as pictures of Lou Reed, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alex Chilton, Andy Warhol and a lot of much more.

Dagon James, Grossman’s editor at Waverly, expressed his enthusiasm for the task.

“We dwell in an age in which just about every single notable photograph has been observed and each individual tale advised numerous times, ” he notes. “It’s uncommon that someone like Bobby Grossman arrives along with a vast, mainly unseen archive from this significant interval when art, new music and manner ended up getting reshaped and redefined. “Low Fidelity” is a book that presents a rare opportunity to give those people who have observed it all a thing new.”

As for Grossman, he’s celebrating 30 many years of sobriety, searching ahead to the publication and counting his blessings.

“I’m nonetheless listed here,” he states. “And most of the men and women on these walls are gone.”

Understand additional about Bobby Grossman at bobbygrossman.com or on Instagram @bobby_grossman. For info on his display, check out howlarts.org. 

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