The 1980s was arguably the most exciting time for artists in Downtown New York, and photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron was there to capture so many of the big names from that lush and fertile era, including Warhol, Haring, Basquiat, and Sherman.
Her black and white images from her series Scene are timeless; it's hard to believe that these remarkable portraits were taken over 30 years ago, often in the artists' own environments – their apartments, a studio, or on the city streets.
On show for a new exhibition at Patrick Parrish Gallery this March, the work is a time capsule of New York City when the young and bold flocked downtown in search of places to live, work and play. There were artists, musicians, writers, designers, actors, and models, all thrown in together – never knowing that they would have such an impact on our culture, changing the world as they went.
Montgomery Barron was one of those "daring young things". The series could almost be seen as a diary of her life during that fascinating decade – from her spilling out into the city streets at dawn following a night at Mudd Club or the Palladium to lunches at Andy Warhol's Factory to visits to the gym with Bianca Jagger.
Her first portrait was of Francesco Clemente, which led to one of Andy Warhol and then pictures of friends Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. That was the turning point in her career when she began to capture all the icons of that time: Cindy Sherman, William Burroughs, Sandro Chia, Jenny Holzer, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kathryn Bigelow – to name a few.
Jeannette Montgomery Barron: Artist Portraits from the '80s goes on show at the Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York from 5 March until 18 April 2020.
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