Tuesday
Jun142011

For The Boys: MONDOBLOGO, Gaetano Pesce and Marc-André Hubin

[ED: This post is intended as a supplement to Patrick's previous post on Gaetano Pesce's 1986 Parisian apartment, created for Marc-André Hubin.

Additionally, I apologize for using the photographs taken by Elizabeth Heyert at the Paris home of Marc Hubin for her book METROPOLITAN PLACES without permission from the photographer. This was illegal and in violation of her copyright.

Elizabeth Heyert's work can be seen as follows:

http://www.elizabethheyert.com/
http://www.elizabethheyert.com/books/metropolitan-places
http://www.elizabethheyert.com/archive/images/work ]

ABOVE: "The guest bedroom walls are zinc, "like Parisian roofs," according to Hubin. One enters the room through a very low doorway. The bed takes up most of the room, giving the illusion that someone managed to put a package, much to big to fit in the door, into the tiny room. The rigid "package" bedspread can be lifted mechanically, to become a canopy and reveal an ordinary bed underneath." [2]

ABOVE LEFT: Drawing of the luminous balustrade on the messanine; ABOVE RIGHT: Drawing of the bed cover. Col.: Marc-Andre Hubin, Paris [1]

"On Avenue Foch, in a building constructed during the thirties (a fine example of Art Deco architecture), Gaetano Pesce has restructured and furnished an apartment for Marc Andre Rubin, a photographer and collector of design objects.

Behind the conversion and decoration of this apartment lie a number of discoveries and encounters: the collector's recent enthusiasm for contemporary design, following after Japanese furniture of the thirties and the design of the fifties and sixties - especially the furniture of Molino; his admiration for the Sansone table; his meeting with Pesce in Milan, in 1985; the ghostly presence of Pablo Picasso, who painted several doors in the apartment that opened onto the upper floor; and finally, a small box in the form of a book that Pesce sent to Rubin from New York a short time before they first visited the apartment together (inside was the model of a brick wall, an evocation of a construction material that is both ancient and contemporary and an indication of first intentions). Like the five doors on the mezzanine floor Pesce designed shortly afterward, this small and enigmatic object reflects the approach that prevailed in the decoration of Rubin's apartment, an approach that started out with the detail, the incident, the fragment." [1]

ABOVE LEFT: Drawing of the guest room bed; ABOVE RIGHT: Plan of the main level and of the mezzanine. [1]

ABOVE: "The door to the right, designed to look like a vault, leads to a filing area. To the left is the low door to the guest bedroom. The drawings, by Pesce, were originally inspired by Picasso." [2]

ABOVE LEFT: Sketch of the fireplace; ABOVE RIGHT: Drawing of the bathroom door, on the mezzanine. [1]

"The project restructures the apartment in a simple way. It breaks down the divisions of the space, unifying it horizontally and vertically. It encloses the space with large expanses of smooth, white wall that punctuate, on the mezzanine level, the series of redesigned doors leading to a suite of service rooms and the large gaping hole giving onto the master bedroom. Punctual, fragmentary interventions qualify it: large sections of wall or floor, textured and colored, polarize it, while the various finishing elements tell a multitude of stories. At the foot of the walls, a plinth cut out of dark marble, contrasting with the travertine in the living room and the red synthetic facing of the mezzanine, outlines the silhouette of Venice. The doors, which are all framed by different drawings and have irregular, sometimes human shapes, speak of the activities that they protect, at times in an aggressive manner. The entrance door has heavy panels of Brazilian rosewood that are covered with bronze and studded, like the entrance to a public hall. The squat and trapeziform door of the upstairs guest room obstructs passage, forcing anyone using it to stoop; it gives access to a room that contains a large bed inserted in a piece of furniture faced with lead, a reminder of the roofs of Paris. The rigid bedspread resembles a gigantic parcel tied with string and is lifted off like a drawbridge by a system of cables and pulleys. The somber wall of the lounge beneath the mezzanine recalls Pesce's gift to Rubin: it is an irregular accretion of bricks and concrete against which is outlined the mantelpiece of the fireplace, a giant figure, a good-natured monster, the architectural ancestor of those little Star Wars figurines which have become familiar children's toys today. Another one can be found embedded in the wall alongside the entrance doorway. Pesce brought this object back from a walk through Paris, and some see it as a comment on the relationship established between the owner and the architect over the course of the work - a relationship at once close and distant, friendly and stormy. Rubin gave carte blanche to Pesce, who, on several occasions, abandoned his role as a designer to assume the mantle of the craftsman. Rere, as always, he entered into direct contact with the materials, cutting the plinths, casting the squares of colored urethane that break up the continuity of the marble facing that has been retained, finishing off the doors with drawings traced on the surrounding wall space, and even building some of the furnishings. Re completed the work begun by French and Italian craftsmen (many elements were made in Venetian workshops)." [1]

ABOVE: "All furniture in the apartment was designed by Gaetano Pesce. The chairs, made of resin and felt and bent by hand, were prototypes for Pesce's most recent furniture collection. Pesce used felt because "it has existed throughout civilization." The small table in the foreground is the prototype for Pesce's Samsone table, made by Cassina. The Egyptian head is from 500 B.C. The sideboard, faced with lead, and the light fixture are unique, designed by Pesce. The tricolor curtains are hand-painted by Hubin. The bedroom is visible through the back wall of the living room." [2]

ABOVE: "Shelves, screen, and chair are all Pesce designs. The wall painting is one of many unique tiny paintings found throughout the apartment, which, says Pesce, "create surprise and keep the architecture non-homogenous, non-coherant."" [2]

ABOVE: Details of the bookcase, on the mezzanine [1]

 ABOVE: Drawing of the laboratory door, on the mezzanine. [1]

"In the Parisian apartment created by the architect and designer Gaetano Pesce for his client Marc Hubin, a bed is wrapped like a brown paper parcel. Floor tiles are unexpectedly mirrored at random intervals. A door shaped like a hand stands only three feet high, forcing a visitor to crouch to enter the room beyond it. Walking on the mezzanine level, one is protected from falling over the edge only by narrow metal tubes with glass bulbs at the top, which seem to have sprouted along the border like avant-garde flowers. Slippery uncarpeted stairs have no hand rails. Chairs that look like soft, inviting shawls are actually hard, with strange sketches of unsmiling faces on some of them. "Like a city," says Gaetano Pesce, "the architecture within a home should always create surprise."

There is an exquisite logic behind Pesce's unique design for Hubin's apartment. "Function is important," he admits, "but if we can also express something, why not? Bed is always a surprise," he explains when asked about the hard shell which converts the bed in a guest bedroom into an anonymous package tied by rope. In bed, Pesce reasons, we never know what to expect. "Good dreams, bad dreams, no dreams, or will we sleep at all?" he asks. "And if someone else is there with us ... more surprises... . To Pesce, a wrapped and unmarked package, with no outside clue to its contents and no identifying decoration, symbolizes what we experience during the surprises of the night." [2]

ABOVE: Bed in the master bedroom. [1]

ABOVE: Door of the bedroom, on the mezzanine; ABOVE RIGHT: Detail of the guest room bed. [1]

"That Hubin's avant-garde apartment is located on one of the grandest, most conservative avenues on the Right Bank is an irony not lost on Pesce. The tricolor curtains on the windows of the huge living room were inspired by the proximity of the apartment to the Arc de Triomphe, which can be seen from an outside balcony. Pesce enjoys the relationship between the view and the architecture, and, as with every detail in the apartment, sees it as imbued with a meaning beyond the obvious. "We cannot just live with symbols," he insists. "A flag is important, but wouldn't it be better as something useful? Why not make a curtain out of it?" Pesce and Hubin recount with amusement that the curtain was seen by Paris soccer fans after a match one night when the painted fabric was hung outside the window to dry. The patriotic fans saw the curtain as a symbol of national pride, and soon a cheering crowd had gathered in front of Hubin's building." [2]

 

"Pesce worked with artisans in his native city of Venice to make the cabinets and doors for Hubin's apartment but he welcomed Hubin's participation, even in the craftsmanship. Hubin, who speaks of Pesce as though he were a brother, cut and installed the wooden moldings and painted the tricolor curtains. Pesce crafted and hand-painted the floor. Of Hubin he says, "He is still curious, which is rare today. The apartment is not mine but his, a fresh place, never boring." The last painting Pesce made in the apartment before its completion is a small airplane on the wall at the entrance. "It is a strange warrior symbol," he explains with a smile. "It represents a good fight, the give and take between the client and the designer.' The real challenge for Pesce was to express something different and original in each design. "For me," he says, "a work of art is merely a useful object with meaning."" [2]

ABOVE: The master bedroom, seen from the mezzanine, has a circular bed placed precariously close to the edge of the room. The room can be sealed from view by mechanized aluminum doors that work like the doors of a garage. The clock is unique, a prototype for a smaller verson by George Sowden. The portrait of Hubin, made by Pesce, was created by drawing on a iquid material that is then allowed to solidify. Pesce describes the process as "a fight with the material," because he must finish the drawing before it begins to harden.

ALL IMAGES TAKEN FROM GAETANO PESCE: ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, ART, BY FRANCE VANLAETHEM, 1989 [1], AND FROM METROPOLITAN PLACES BY ELIZABETH HEYERT, 1992 [2]; TEXT AND CAPTIONS [1] TAKEN FROM "AN APARTMENT IN PARIS, 1985-1986" WITHIN GAETANO PESCE: ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, ART; TEXT AND CAPTIONS [2] TAKEN FROM METROPOLITAN PLACES

Tuesday
Jun072011

Peep Show: Ricky Clifton, John Currin and Rachel Feinstein

XTC: SENSES WORKING OVERTIME [1982]

"Married artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein are sensualists. They don't look like it but they are. Because I'm so deeply superficial, I steered clear of them until Rachel attacked me at a dinner party one day: "We need help, it's too much, it's out of control!" They had moved into their new apartment in SoHo a few years before and were still trying to make sense of how to marry all their major style influences. At our first meeting I was informed what those were: Annabel's, the old bougie London boîte—uptight, spooky, sophisticated; Third-World-dictator rococo—witty, gilded, ridiculous; and last, but not at all least, Carlo Mollino—the ultimate Italian sensualist. That's when they had me."

"The experience has changed my life. The more I've worked with John and Rachel, the more my obsession with Mollino has gone into overdrive. After a pilgrimage to Turin to see his apartment, I realized that Mollino—like the Currins—was not at all what he appeared to be. Rather than a big, masculine, Gary Cooper-esque adventurer, I discovered a tiny (his bathroom mirror reflected my tummy) rationalist, orientalist sensualist obsessed with all things feminine. Mollino's Turin bachelor pad screams "Miss Thing!" (Moreover, I'm convinced he was a secret cross-dresser—there's a pair of women's stilettos near his bed to this very day.) No wonder the Currin's are into him."

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS OF JOHN CURRIN AND RACHEL FEINSTEIN'S MANHATTAN APARTMENT BY KT AULETA FOR "PORTFOLIO: PEEP SHOW", PIN-UP #10, SPRING/SUMMER 2011; TEXT BY RICKY CLIFTON, TAKEN FROM THE SAME ISSUE

Tuesday
May312011

Albert Hadley, Want, and the Comfort of Things 

"If you don't know right away that something is something you want or can use," Mr. Hadley answers firmly, "you shouldn't buy it. What I have, I have, and if I didn't have it I'd be happy with much less." - Albert Hadley in conversation with House & Garden

MADONNA & MASSIVE ATTACK: I WANT YOU

FIONA APPLE & ELVIS COSTELLO: I WANT YOU [LIVE, 2006] 

"Albert Hadley, president of Parish-Hadley, which is to decorating what Mouton-Rothschild is to claret, says he's not a good houseguest. By which he doesn't mean to imply that he stays up all night and burns cigarette holes in the rug. To see Mr. Hadley-small, neat, gazing mildly at the world from behind round spectacles-is to know that's hardly his style. Rather, Mr. Hadley is the kind who likes to keep his own time, move at his own pace, and sleep in his own bed. That's why the place he bought near Tarrytown, New York, some years ago is a 'godsend. I spent a lot of weekends in the city, working. But the house, once I got it, took over my life and everything else disappeared.'

A farmhouse built about 1850 and sitting on a knoll, it wasn't at all what Mr. Hadley had in mind. 'I'd always thought of having a much simpler, more classic box, perhaps on flat land. But here was this perfectly lovely house, so I couldn't resist.

'I remember every detail of seeing it and falling in love and thinking it an enormous challenge. No, an enormous opportunity, I should say, to do the things I like most-to create order and the atmosphere that I love.' What is the atmosphere that Mr. Hadley loves? In three words: peaceful, private, precise.

'I'm rather an orderly person and I don't like clutter. I like things, but I'm very interested in the juxtaposition of objects and the way materials look together. I love the excitement of discovery, but I'm not a collector. What I have, I have, and if I didn't have it I'd be happy with much less.'"

"Soon after Mr. Hadley moved in 'and got the land in better order' (order is clearly Mr. Hadley's favorite noun), he decided that the house needed a wider porch. He added one, with steps leading to a flagstone terrace; other than that, there was little to do but rebuild the chimneys.

'Inside was no problem at all. I had the furniture-some in storage, some I'd let people borrow, some family things I brought up from Tennessee-and I chose to keep everything as simple as possible.' The house is white from top to bottom; some floors were sanded, cleaned, and left natural; those that weren't were painted dark green. Plain white muslin skirts the bottom half of each window because Mr. Hadley didn't want to impede the light and air and because he isn't too fond of curtains anyway. 'Perhaps I shouldn't say that,' he murmurs.

An ordinary weekend starts Friday afternoon when Mr. Hadley goes up alone to work the house's several acres. He loves to work outside but he is not, he says emphatically, a flower gardener. 'I like ferns and such.' Entertaining is mostly Saturday or Sunday lunch, usually on the porch. 'I'm not awfully domestic. I manage a bit but it's not my great passion.'

If by 'domestic' Mr. Hadley means being a dab hand with a dust cloth and bread dough, he probably doesn't deserve the adjective. On the other hand, he's been fascinated by things pertaining to the home all his life.

Albert Hadley grew up near Nashville on farmland that had belonged to his grandfather, in a house that was built by his parents. They had very few neighbors in the beginning and he resented, he says, every new house that went up. That may be why, when he's describing the joy he takes in his farmhouse, several words keep repeating themselves: 'the privacy... the isolation.' His parents were interested in furniture-his mother was a collector and he himself was 'always interested in fashion, how tables were set, what people wore.' He might have trained as an architect, 'but at the time I thought it was too much engineering, too much mathematics and all the things I'm not exactly...' Instead, after the army, he went to New York and Parsons School of Design. He was there for four years and stayed on to teach; eventually, in 1962, he went to work with Sister Parish, whose partner he is still."

"Given Mr. Hadley's travels in the realms of gold it is pleasant to hear that he found several of his own treasures by beating the Sanitation Department to a pickup. 'The writing table with the blue cloth top I found on the street, and the tables by the beds in two of the guest rooms. And once [Mr. Hadley is visibly warming to his subject] I was walking on an uptown street, saw a glimmer of gold in the trash, and out came this beautiful Regency gilt bracket.' Finding a Chippendale sofa just before it was to be turned into landfill was especially memorable. After being recovered it was 'wonderful.'

Mr. Hadley is not only lucky in his walks, he is lucky in his friends, many of whom seem to spend a lot of time saying, 'Ooh, just the thing for Albert.' (Sister Parish's finding 'just the thing for Albert' is how he acquired his farmhouse: she steered him to it.) He has a closetful of such things, and what he doesn't use he passes on. 'There's a certain life about objects, I think, and the life goes on and on.' A copper tray and candlestick, though, will stay forever. His mother gave them to him many years ago, saying, 'I bought these just for you.' So will two circus drawings from a series by Byron Browne. The first he bought; Van Day Truex, the president of Parsons and his mentor, gave him its mate. 'I couldn't have had a better present.'

Mr. Hadley's best present to his friends and clients is, of course, his taste. 'Tell me,' asks a visitor, thinking to get a few tips, 'do you have any one set of rules to design by?'

'Well,' he replies, 'I respect enormously the time and place of any architecture, and how one furnishes it depends on what it says. Also, there's a continuity to one's taste. If you really like things they all tend to be of the same spirit and they all work together.'

'If you have to brood about something, then,' his visitor says, remembering a mirror framed in wood painted with wildflowers and a bird in flight and possibly still in residence at an antiques shop, 'maybe you shouldn't get it?'

'If you don’t' know right away that something is something you want or can use,' Mr. Hadley answers firmly, 'you shouldn't buy it.'

Ah, mirror, farewell."

 

ALL IMAGES AND TEXT TAKEN FROM HOUSE & GARDEN'S BEST IN DECORATION, 1987, INTERVIEWER AND PHOTOGRAPHER UNNAMED

Monday
May302011

Inside is Just Everything: Nelson Sullivan's Interior Archives 

"Nelson Sullivan recorded his video using a VHS portable camera and deck until 1987 and then with a handheld 8mm camcorder. Nelson lived in a large townhouse at 5 Ninth Avenue in the Meatmarket area of New York City and his houseguests over the years included Lady Bunny, RuPaul, Larry Tee, Michael Alig and the Club Kids, Sylvia Miles, Michael Musto, Albert Crudo, John Sex, and his dear friend the tortured transvestite Christina. Nelson's videos span across Downtown NYC from the eccentric performances at the Pyramid Club to the production numbers at the Limelight and Palladium. Nelson's friendships with the emerging artists of that day like RuPaul, Deee-lite, Scott Wittman & Marc Shamen give Nelson's videos an intimacy that allows the viewer an in-crowd look at the past." [1]

RuPaul at The Jane Hotel, June 8, 1986

"In the penthouse suite at the Jane West Hotel overlooking the Hudson River, RuPaul lived for a while after moving to New York for the second time. Sharing the suite are RuPaul's backup dancers Trade and Spicey. Afterwards, Nelson takes the gang over to the meat market to see his home at 5 Ninth Avenue and his dog Blackout." [1]

Christmas at Keoki and Michael Alig's

 Avenue A, 1989

"Nelson takes the bus to meet his brother Marko at a restaurant on Avenue A. Along the way he meets some of the interesting people in the East Village. Video by Nelson Sullivan" [1]

RuPaul's Welcome Back Party

"RuPaul left New York City many times before he moved there for good. On this occasion Nelson threw a party at 5 Ninth Avenue. This video is from the DVD Nelson Sullivan's Fabulous Friends" [1]

The Chelsea Hotel's 100th Birthday Party

ALL VIDEO SHOT BY NELSON SULLIVAN, VIA YOUTUBE AND NELSONSULLIVAN.TV; TEXT [1] VIA YOUTUBE; IMPETUS VIA MICHAEL MAGNAN AND LADY BUNNY BLOG

Monday
May232011

Gay Ghosts: Lived In Bars

G.A.Y. at ASTORIA: Dancefloor and Stage, London, UK, 2003

"There is no queer space; there are only spaces used by queers or put to queer use. Space has no natural character, no inherent meaning, no intrinsic status as public or private. As Michel de Certeau has argued, it is always invested with meaning by its users as well as its creators, and even when its creators have the power to define its official and dominant meaning, its users are usually able to develop tactics that allow them to use the space in alternative, even oppositional ways that confound the designs of its creators." [5]

BUS PALLADIUM: Back Hallway with Spare Disco Ball, Paris, France, 2003

 

“The first year contained the thrill of newness, and the thrill of exclusivity - that all these people who might not even know each other, but who knew who each other were, had been brought together in the winter, in this little room, without having done a single thing to bring it about. They all knew each other without ever having been introduced. They formed a group of people who had danced with each other over the years, gone to the same parties, the same beaches on the same trains, yet, in some cases, never even nodded at each other. They were bound together by a common love of a certain kind of music, physical beauty, and style - all the things one shouldn’t throw away an ounce of energy pursuing, and sometimes throw away a life pursuing. 

 

Within this larger group - for some of them came but once a moment, or twice all season - was a core of people who seemed to have no existence at all outside of this room. They were never home, it seemed, but lived only in the ceaseless flow of this tiny society’s movements. They seldom looked happy. They passed one another without a word in the elevator, like silent shades in hell, hell-bent on their next look from a handsome stranger. Their next rush from a popper. The next song that turned their bones to jelly and left them all on the dance floor with heads back, eyes nearly closed, in the ecstasy of saints receiving the stigmata. They pursued these things with such devotion that they acquired, after a few seasons, a haggard look, a look of deadly seriousness. Some wiped everything they could off their faces and reduced themselves to blanks. Yet even these, when you entered the hallway where they stood waiting to go in, would turn toward you all at once in the one unpremeditated moment (as when we see ourselves in a mirror we didn’t know was there), the same look on all their faces: Take me away from this. Or, Love me. If there had been a prison for such desperadoes, you would have called the police and had them all arrested - just to get them out of these redundant places and give them a rest. 

 

There was a moment when their faces blossomed into the sweetest happiness, however - when everyone came together in a single lovely communion that was the reason they did all they did; and that occurred around six-thirty in the morning, when they took off their sweat-soaked T-shirts and screamed because Patti Jo had begun to sing: ‘Make me believe in you, show me that love can be true.’ By then, the air was half-nauseating with the stale stench of poppers, broken and dropped on the floor after their fumes had been sucked into the heart, and the odor of sweat, and ethyl chloride from the rags they clamped between their teeth, holding their friends’ arms to keep from falling. The people on downs were hardly able to move, and the others rising from the couches where they had been sprawled like martyrs who have given up their souls to Christ pushed onto the floor and united in the cries of animal joy because Patti Jo had begun to sing in her metallic, unreal voice those signal words: ‘Make me believe in you, show me that love can be true.’” [2]

 

▶ PATTI JO: MAKE ME BELIEVE IN YOU

THE COCK: Bathroom View #1, New York, NY, USA, 2002

THE COCK: Bathroom View #2, New York, NY, USA, 2002

"No place better realizes his juvenile dream of grown-up space than this piano bar: where he produces so many signs of adultness that one would almost think he is suffering from a delusion that (despite his frequent patronage or his manifest majority) there may even now arise some difficulty about his right to be here, which he is prepared to assert by exercising it in every way possible. As he inhales the intoxicating bitterness of adult life through the tobacco, or imbibes it in the alcohol, whose prodigal consumption starting from the moment he gets past the door only the eagerness of his intemperance persuades us is not a formal condition of admission, like the removal of one's shoes in a Japanese foyer, he is celebrating not so much how far he has journeyed from a place—his mythically straight-laced home or home town—as his distance from a time, that of his childhood, when he couldn't abide either of these acrid tastes. And if it were not enough that the law had already designated both substances for adults only, he must further subject them to protocols connoting adult ways of consuming them. Well versed in the manual of sophisticated smoking, for instance, he pinches the cigarette tensely between thumb and forefinger, as though held with any less rigidity it would be in danger of slipping from his grasp, or even of disintegrating, while his remaining fingers, left to fend for themselves by the mental or motor exertions this vise requires, fly ungovernably into the air. So he means to signify the adult theme of Work, having understood from his father, who even off the job never had time for him, that smoking, only apparently allied with the conditions of leisure, relaxation, pleasure, was really of a piece with all those worrisome, demanding obligations of adult life that, unlike a child who "didn't have to" perform them, but had only to hear how indispensable the driven performance of them was to putting clothes on his back and a roof over his head, couldn't be neglected." [1]

 

▶ CAT POWER: LIVED IN BARS

THE ENDUP: Seating Area with Secret Basement Staircase, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2002

THE ENDUP: Main Dance Floor and DJ Booth, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2002

G.A.Y.: Pink Barstools, London, UK, 2003

"Or, adopting the pose shown on a different page, he sets the cigarette stiffly at arm's length behind him or to his side: by which gesture he burns incense to adult Self-determination, the triumph of his will to smoke--or not--as he pleases, when--but only when--he wants. If 'the habit' now makes that victory wholly imaginary, he is at any rate free of the asthmatic manifestations that formerly would have greeted the faintest wisp of one of those great clouds amid which, comfortable as a rococo divinity reclining on them, he now sits perched atop his stool. Or again, having turned another page, he waves his cigarette in so generous an arc that he might be a conjurer and it his wand. From the ashes that he scatters no less grandiosely than if they had come from the cinerary urn of a loved one, what is reborn is himself, a big boy now: this gesture of Largesse having literally secured his enlargement by the simple expedient of doubling the amount of space that others must allow him. The ingestion of alcohol (as distinct from its application, in the form of cologne, where mere proof of use is required) has similarly to bear the supplementary mark of sophistication, here inscribed by the fanciful nomenclature of the cocktail, that once mystifying set of names which he can never now pronounce without taking secret pride in the worldly initiation that has entailed their correct usage, or—what is the same thing—without feeling deep relief, whenever he orders a 'screwdriver,' a 'grasshopper,' a 'greyhound,' a 'Manhattan,' that the bartender does not scowl, or smirk, or give any other sign of being asked to bring forth from his shaker a tool, an insect, an animal, the whole metropolis." [1]

GHETTO: Red DJ Booth, London, UK, 2003

“With the Nightclub Interiors I was interested in 'outing' these spaces that are normally imagined and experiences cloaked in color lighting and darkness. Using lighting and the large format photography, I wanted to create a detailed record of these places that are so often mythologized.

 

The thing I love about the Interiors project is how it operates on the one hand as an almost typological, documentary photography. On the other hand, this wouldn’t be enough to keep me interested.

 

Nightclubs provide a location for the creation of the LGBTQ community. The closest thing I suppose to a national gay holiday is the night of the Stonewall Riots, which began in a gay bar in the West Village in 1969. Even before this, academics such as George Chauncey wrote about the significance of these places in his book Gay New York, dating back to the early 1920s, I believe (it’s been a while since I read it). Looking back at my own life, the club was the first place I could really perform my sexual orientation in a semi-public space. Despite their limitations - and there are MANY - it provided a location for me to express my sexual identity, and I am certain, for many others.” [3]

 

JACQUES CABARET: Red Bar and Stools, Boston, MA, USA, 2001

LES BAINS: Friday Night Swimming Pool, Paris, France, 2003

"The social life of the men who participated in this study centered around interaction in the gay bar. The importance of bars in the lives of these men is reflected in the finding that all but two of them reported frequent visits. One of these men, who was in his late sixties, felt that he did not fit in because of his age. He occasionally went to bars but only with a friend. Such an excursion would normally be incorporated into an evening out, with dinner or a show. Even on these occasions, he would limit himself to one glass of wine and then leave early. The other man who no longer when to bars was a recovering alcoholic. He felt that if he did go, he would be strongly tempted to drink. The acknowledgment by the other recovering alcoholics that they still attended the bars even though they did not drink is clear evidence of the importance of these establishments in the gay community.

When male homosexuals talk about the gay bar scene, they typically use the generic expression, 'the bar.' This term evokes emotions for gay people in a way that it does not for heterosexuals. It refers to a social institution around which people's very lives are organized and to which their daily schedules are oriented. Many men 'live for the bar,' as the focal point of their nonworking lives. In this sense, 'the bar' is simultaneously a particular bar and a generic term, with implications reaching well beyond individual drinking establishments.

For gay men, especially those who are not in love relationships, the bar is a social center where friendship cliques meet to exchange gossip and information and to enjoy each other's company (Hooker, 1967), and is still the most common setting for this kind of interaction. In a Los Angeles study, for example, Fifield (1975) found that social activity revolved around the bars and that few bar patrons socialized in other settings. The problem, as Fifield sees it, is that the social options of gay people are severely limited. Read (1980) further notes the special importance for the homosexual tavern as a place where people can feel accepted. For Read, the essence of the bar is that it is 'a setting in which it is possible to find and experience a commonality that contrasts with the world beyond the tavern's doors' (p. 69) That is, the attraction of the bar is not merely alcoholic or sexual; it is a place where a person can feel 'normal.' There, his homosexuality is accepted, taken as a given, and shared by others in the setting. It is the one place in which he does not have to worry about covering his feelings or being rejected for his sexuality. Thirty-nine percent of the men I interviewed mentioned a feeling of belonging as an important motivation for going to gay bars." [4]

 

▶ DRAKE: I GET LONELY, TOO [FANMAIL]

THE SCALA: Pink Staircase, London, UK, 2003

"The power of this function of the bar cannot be overemphasized. As noted earlier, many gay people grow up with a sense of isolation. They have feelings they cannot share with anyone, and they often believe that they are the only ones in the world with homoerotic attractions (Weinberg, 1983). Despite the fact that homophile organizations have existed for forty years in the United States (Yearwood & Weinberg, 1979), a wider gay world has been formed only realitively recently with institutions such as churches, restaurants, banks and the creation of holidays such as Gay Pride Week. Yet for gays, the tavern has historically been virtually the only place where group solidarity is expressed. The gay bar has traditionally brought individuals together to deal as a group with a common problem of adjustment: the normalization of a stigmatized identity. It is, therefore, properly understood as the focal point for the formation of a subculture (Cohen, 1955).

Achilles (1967) notes that the most important function of the bar is the provision of a meeting place within which gays can comfortably interact. 'Without such a place to congregate,' Achilles feels, 'the group would cease to be a group' (p. 230). The loss of the group, either by its dissolution or by leaving it, may cause severe problems for some gay men. Without such a group serving as an extended family and providing emotional support, validation of one's normalcy, and recreation, the individual would have a more difficult time developing and maintaining gay identity (Nardi, 1982). This seems to be especially true for some gays who have very little to do with heterosexuals except in work or school settings, and whose associateions are therefore limited to other gay people. Since the bar is where they meet their friends and since they perceive few alternatives for social interaction outside of the gay world, they are effectively locked into the bar scene if they want any kind of social life at all. If they leave the bar, they may also abandon much of gay life and become isolated from the gay world." [4]

 

▶ RANDY NEWMAN: GUILTY [LIVE, 1978]

SINNERS: View of the Chandelier from the Second Floor, Amsterdam, NL, 2003

THE HOLE: New York, NY, 2005

 

ALL BAR INTERIOR IMAGES BY JESSE FINLEY REED; TEXT [1] TAKEN FROM "THE PIANO BAR" BY D.A. MILLER, AS REPRINTED IN THE BOOK STUD: ARCHITECTURES OF MASCULINITY; TEXT [2] TAKEN FROM DANCER FROM THE DANCE BY ANDREW HOLLERAN, 1978; TEXT [3] AS WRITTEN BY JESSE FINLEY REED, TAKEN FROM EASTVILLAGEBOYS.COM; TEXT [4] GAY MEN, DRINKING, AND ALCOHOLISM BY THOMAS S. WEINBERG, 1994; TEXT [5] TAKEN FROM "PRIVACY COULD ONLY BE HAD IN PUBLIC: GAY USES OF THE STREETS" BY GEORGE CHAUNCEY, AS REPRINTED IN THE BOOK STUD: ARCHITECTURES OF MASCULINITY; MANY THANKS TO JESSE FINLEY REED FOR HIS HELP WITH THIS POST.

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