AREA: 1983–1987

AREA1In September 1983 four guys from California – brothers Eric and Christopher Goode, Shawn Hausman, and Darius Azari – sent out 5,000 invitations to the first party at AREA, their nightclub set to open in a 13,000-square-foot warehouse at 157 Hudson Street in Manhattan, right at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. The invitation came in the form of a blue pill inside a black velvet ring box that bore the instructions: “Place capsule in glass of hot water and allow to dissolve.” Weighted with a BB, the pill dropped to the bottom of the glass and diffused, revealing a 1 x 1-inch cellophane invitation that was propelled to the surface by Bromo-Seltzer.

tumblr_mklopltYPb1qb1wbzo2_1280-1Opening night was so crowded that Andy Warhol barely made it in. When Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro tried to sneak in through the exit, the doorman, Gilbert Stafford, said, “I don’t give a fuck who you are, you better step out,” and threw them off the property. Steve Rubell, founder of Studio 54, was so jealous he acted like Area was his own disco. Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Warhol became regulars to the club, which was part natural history museum, part gallery, part zoo, part fuck fest. Every six weeks Area’s entire interior would be gutted and redesigned for a specific theme, which included “Future,” “Gnarly,” “American Highway,” and “Suburbia.” The mise-en-scène was always outrageous: live sharks in tanks, a trapeze, fresh bones, porno cinema, replicas of Levittown-style suburban houses.

The short-lived club is now extensively documented in Area: 1983–1987, a 368-page oral and pictorial history compiled by Eric and Jennifer Goode that acts as a kind of instructional illustrated guide to New York City nightlife. Included are notes distinguishing between “wealthy people” (Barry Diller, D. Geffen, and Spyros Niarchos) and “people connected” (Larissa, Milan, Warhol); references from established institutions for funding (Ian Schrager: “I found the events created last spring on Hudson Street the most inspiring new development in nightlife for some time.” And Interview magazine: “Shawn Hausman, Darius Azari, Eric Goode, and Chris Goode’s club in New York stood out as THE place to go at night on weekends in May and June.”); and responses to Area’s invitations (Quentin Crisp: “Thank you, dear Sir, for your sinister gift. I’ve not dared to deal with it yet. Perhaps I’ll feel braver and stronger when I return from the Deep South.”).

From top left: Michael Heizer, David Hockney, Leroy Nieman, Dennis Oppenheim, Stefano, Bill Wegman, John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Armand Arman, Alex Katz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi, Red Grooms, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ronnie Cutrone, Sandro Chia

From top left: Michael Heizer, David Hockney, Leroy Nieman, Dennis Oppenheim, Stefano, Bill Wegman, John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Armand Arman, Alex Katz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi, Red Grooms, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ronnie Cutrone, Sandro Chia

Area was the beginning of a new form of entertainment in which art, people, and music merged. Yet beyond business and strategy, Area the book embodies a unique story of creative socializing. “None of us wanted to be club owners,” says Eric Goode, who went on the open The Bowery and Jane Hotels in New York. “Our methods were amateurish, absurd, illegal even. None of us wanted to be club owners, we just wanted to live out our creative fantasies.”

032c also appreciates that Eric Goode recently founded an organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s most endangered turtles and tortoises and their habitats worldwide.

Area 1983–1987 is published by Abrams (New York, 2013)

Deeper

  • Thus Spoke Bischofberger: Artforum’s Eternally Swiss Back Cover

    An advertisement for the art gallery belonging to dealer and collector Bruno Bischofberger has occupied the back cover of every issue of Artforum since April 1987. Seen out of context and en masse, the eternally Swiss contents of these promotions at first appear idiosyncratic; upon further scrutiny, however, they seem insane.More
  • Apparel

    032c “Dark Times” Brecht T-Shirt Black

    €50
    Buy Now
  • Société de 032c: GLOBAL PREDICTIONS from Cyber Oracle SITA ABELLAN

    “The major debate everyone is avoiding is how technology will modify our society and economy,” says the model, DJ, and self-proclaimed “techno princess” in a series of dystopian prophecies. “Technology is forging our behavior and will deeply affect who we become as human beings. Avoiding discussions about the use of technology without limitations and restraints will cause major injustices.”More
  • 032c WWB Collection

    032c WWB Turtleneck Camouflage

    €80
    Buy Now
  • Apparel

    032c Classics Logo Beanie

    €40
    Buy Now
  • Salty, Litigious, Iconoclastic: DAVID SIMON on TV as discourse

    With “The Wire,” DAVID SIMON accomplished the unlikely feat of captivating both West ­Baltimore bruisers and The New Yorker subscribers for an hour a week, over the course of six years. Twenty years into television’s latest “Golden Age,” as the creative blueprint pioneered by Simon and shows like The Sopranos unfurls into an endless stream of content from Amazon and Netflix, we revisit our 2011 interview with Simon from 032c Issue 20.More
  • OG? OK! Onitsuka Tiger Unveils 70th Anniversary OK Basketball Shoes in Berlin

    At their store on Alte Schönhauserstrasse in Berlin, Japanese footwear mainstays Onitsuka Tiger held a Japan-themed mini festival to herald the arrival of the OK Basketball MT and the OK Basketball Lo: two new shoes inspired by the groundbreaking design that ignited the Onitsuka Tiger brand almost 70 years ago.More
  • CROSS-DRESSING IN THE WEHRMACHT: Unseen Practices at the German Front

    While collecting amateur photography from periods during and after the war, Berlin-based visual artist Martin Dammann would, “from time to time,” stumble upon photographs of cross-dressing soldiers. Provoked, he began to seek out more, drawn to the “kaleidoscope of emotional states” that they revealed: “Desire for women. Desire for men. To be a woman. To be elsewhere. To be someone else.” More
  • THE BIG FLAT NOW: Power, Flatness, and Nowness in the Third Millennium

    As a contemporary metaphor, flatness describes how the invention of the Internet has restructured global society. At its origin, its promise was a social revolution founded on intersectional equality and universal democracy. It is our contention that that promise may yet be fully realized.More