New image painting, as I observed in chapter 6, pointed in two directions. One was toward "fine" art, the culmination of which was neoexpressionism. The other was toward an extreme "bad" painting, an art based more than ever before on anarchic and infantile impulses, an anyone-can-do-it aesthetic, and the trivialities of mass culture. Neo-"bad" painting was identified with a generation of artists who lived and worked in Manhattan's Lower East Side, soon given the catchier name East Village. East Village art was accompanied by another cultural manifestation that emerged in 1976, punk rock or new wave. 1 Young artists began to frequent punk rock clubs and bars because they found the music more stimulating than the art shown in galleries. Responding to artist interest, in 1978 Artists Space featured the new bands in a two-week run.
There evolved a "punk aesthetic," which "blurred the boundaries between visual art, performance art and rock concerts, between high and low culture, and between who is 'qualified' to be an artist, a musician -- or both," as Michael Shore reported in 1980. 2 "Artists and art students have been forming rock bands, rock musicians are making underground films, performance artists have been appearing in rock clubs and making records and punk-oriented fashion designers are also exhibiting sculpture, to mention a few of the manifestations of this new spirit." 3
Thomas Lawson recalled that young New York artists recognized that the
fast, psychotically repetitive rock music [of the Ramones or Patti Smith] could provide a successful way to reinject life into the moribund idea of "performance art.". . . Since so many of us had grown up with John Lennon, Mick Jagger, or Ray Davies as our idea of a living artist, it seemed natural. Suddenly everybody was in a band, mostly fairly transitory groupings confined to the art world. . . . The music that came out of this activity tended to be fast and rough, betraying a studied carelessness. . . . There was little regard for musical skill, or
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Publication information: Book title: Art of the Postmodern Era:From the Late 1960s to the Early 1990s. Contributors: Irving Sandler - Author. Publisher: Icon Editions. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 461.
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