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~The History of the Downtown Portrait

Downtown NY has always bred the most interesting characters the world has seen.

From Warhol’s Factory, to CBGBs, the clashing of cultures at Tompkins, Supreme on Lafayette, the hectic loud surroundings of downtown and many more. All providing a space and platform where artists, musicians, actors, chefs and weirdos from all different backgrounds blend together and create history.

These 3 pictures embody that.

From all the hand picked attendees, to the historical theaters they were shot at. They all play a role in the importance of downtown history.

The pictures are meant to capture and tell the story of the scene, movement, culture during those years.

It’s about immortalize every era of the city. A downtown portrait.

Since the first one was pre social media, invitations were made and personally handed out. Anyone was allowed to show up, all you needed to do was be confident enough to walk through those doors and know you could be a part of it.

The first one was made in the year 2000 at Jonas Mekas’s Anthology Film Archive on second ave in the East Village and shot by Kai Reagan. It appeared in AMP Quarterly which was an art magazine published by Aaron Rose, Ed Templeton and Brendan Fowler. A large format magazine that complemented the massive context of the photo.

Some of the participants brought chainsaws, bats, and axes as props it got wild, turning into a party which added to the energy of the photo.

Nobody knew what to expect, everybody was in their early 20’s and it was another excuse for hanging out.

The second picture was made at The Guggenheim and published in ID magazine in 2005. The historical, iconic significance of the first shot caught the attention of the museum and they offered their theater for the second shot.

The third picture was made in 2017 at the Abrons Art Center of Henry Street Settlement, one of the oldest theaters in New York City and published in Cultured magazine.

Through the years these images have become iconic. Some of the individuals in the pictures are also no longer with us, but these images serve as a tribute to their stories, their friends, and their influence.

It’s been 5 years and in honor of the tradition Gray Sorrenti will be shooting the 4th installment of the photos.

We will be meeting Saturday, July 9th at 1pm a tompkins square park by the Hare Krishna Tree. All are welcome.

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