artinfo.com, 2010

11 Hopped-Up Art World Anecdotes

by Emma Allen, artinfo.com, September 20, 2010

From the “Max’s Kansas City Book,” 11 Hopped-Up Art World Anecdotes

NEW YORK— “Max’s Kansas City was the exact place where Pop art and pop life came together in New York in the sixties,” said Andy Warhol, who would know, and who in 1968 even moved his Factory downtown to be closer to the raucous Park Avenue South hangout. And while a Korean deli now fills the address that once housed the debauched after-hours shenanigans of artists like Robert Smithson and Carolee Schneemann, celebrities like Cary Grant and Mel Brooks, and musicians like Iggy Popand Debbie Harry, the Max’s legacy continues to thrill.

Which is perhaps why this month two galleries are offering shows centered on the Max’s myth, one at Steven Kasher Gallery(through October 9) featuring

work by the clubhouse’s patrons John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers, Larry Zox, and Neil Williams, and another at Loretta Howard Galleryshowcasing work by better-known Max’s devotees like James Rosenquist, Vito Acconci, Brigid Berlin, Dan Flavin, Lawrence Weiner, and Frank Stella.

While today we may have one-off art-world gatherings that recall the bygone downtown vibe, we wax nostalgic about Max’s Kansas City because we don’t really have an equivalent. The book accompanying the show at Steven Kasher, published by Abrams Image, will only serve to rub in this deficiency — although hearing about some of the sordid, drug-fueled mayhem that went down there takes away some of the myth’s appeal.

Titled “Max’s Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock and Roll,” the catalogue includes a number of texts — including a 1974 interview between the owner, Mickey Ruskin, and Ramonesmanager Danny Fields — but the main attraction is its wealth of photographs and odd blurbs documenting three decades of the art world. ( . . .  )

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