The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

Studio 54, Revisited: An Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 20, 2020 23:35

2 users

The Brooklyn Museum has reopened at partial capacity and is featuring the special exhibition about Studio 54.

Museums are back, sort of, in New York City! They're admitting patrons in at partial capacity. Thus we went to see the exhibition Studio 54: Night Magic, a special show about the iconic discotheque located on West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

Part of the thrill was just being back in a museum. The Brooklyn Museum is one of my all-time favorite museums and I've been there more times than any other museum. I can remember being there as a young child; I can remember bringing my daughters there when they were young as well. For several years I've been a fan of their First Saturday events, which feature live performances and other special activities. We also saw the amazing David Bowie exhibition here.

The Studio 54 exhibition was fun and nostalgic for me, and although it wasn't amazing, it was an interesting study of a cultural moment that still has an influence on American music and nightlife.

There was some history about nightclubs in New York City (other legendary spots such as the Stork Club, etc.) and brief material about disc jockeys in general. We saw artifacts of the planning of the club, from the unmistakable logo, the blueprints and mockups of the club interior, and notes taken by people involved. But much of the show was dedicated to the fashions you might see worn there, photographs of the two club owners (Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell) as well as the many celebrities who came to see and be seen: the designer Halston, singer Grace Jones, socialite Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol and Diana Ross and so many others.

Throughout the rooms of the exhibition, there was disco music pumped over the PA, and of course, we heard "Freak Out" by Chic, which name-drops Studio 54. Revolving colored lights reminiscent of the club bounced around. There were newspaper and magazine clippings of the disco, memorabilia from their parties and events and more.

Yet there was something missing, big time. The exhibition showed us what we might see, and played what we might hear. It touched a bit on controversial issues such as rampant drug use (especially cocaine). But it didn't go deep into the problems (financial) and social issues (gay nightlife, for example) and focused so much on celebrities. Many average people also went to Studio 54.

It also focused only on the heyday of the club, from 1977-1980. It did continue into the mid-1980s -- and that's when I went a few times, for College Nights. I had fun when I went with friends but knew the headiest days were over. Then later it morphed into the New Ritz and the Ritz, where I saw live rock concerts (I recall seeing My Bloody Valentine and This Mortal Coil there, among others).

And no one in the exhibition danced! I started to boogie a bit but my younger daughter begged me to stop.

For me, this exhibition was a fun throwback, but a bit tame.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 20, 2020 23:35

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest