Does Cocaine Have a Smell? TOM FORD and TOD PAPAGEORGE Investigate the Scent of Studio 54

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

Photographer TOD PAPAGEORGE, who captured and immortalized street life in New York in the 1960s and 70s, recently opened an exhibition at Galerie Thomas Zander in Cologne, titled “Studio 54.” The show presents 70 black-and-white photographs of the legendary New York nightclub, a mise-en-scene that begs a soundtrack or narration. While Larry Levan or Walter Gibbons come easily to mind, we recommend channelling TOM FORD’s seductive depiction of his time at 54, as told recently to Derek Blasberg:

Tom Ford: “Well, if I smell poppers, I think of the late 1970s. Studio 54 reeked of poppers. There was a very definite smell to it. Poppers, alcohol, cigarettes. Cocaine doesn’t really smell, but that’s kind of in your mind, so it smelled like coke, too. It was fuelled by coke. The whole place was coke. No one was mopey because the whole place was on drugs … When you look at the photographs you see a wood floor, but I never saw the floor when I was there. It was dark and there were neon lights that glowed. You just saw flashes and had smells and knew people. Nothing has ever truly captured that. Baz Luhrmann came the closest to it in his party scenes in Moulin Rouge, and in Gatsby, too. That’s what it was like. My memories of 54? There is Brooke Shields over there with Michael Jackson. Over there are two guys fucking. And there is a naked person wrapped in Saran Wrap dancing. And that’s Princess Grace. I couldn’t get enough of it.”

Via mrblasberg.com

Tod Papageorge’s exhibition “Studio 54” is on view at Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, until April 12, 2014.

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978–80. © Tod Papageorge, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln

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Galerie Thomas Zander
Studio 54
Tod Papageorge
Tom Ford