‘Inexhaustibly’ is correct. There are dozens of photographs
filling the walls stacked one above the other. There are drunks, mosh pits,
young people working on stuff, wrestling in the mud, playing music, floating on
boats made of junk, making big assemblages of more junk, taking their clothes
off, wearing t-shirts with nasty sayings on them, showing of their bandages,
mattresses and and so forth.
Seelie is a remarkably good photographer, and has been able
to pick up the telling detail in the scenes he has documented with such energy.
I was stuck, though, on ‘momentous.’ That I didn’t see at
all. In fact, except for the fact there were more people (and where aren’t
there more people), it seemed a lot like 1967. I found myself getting more and
more gloomy as a walked through the show, and the refrain that struck me as I
left was “these kids think they’re inventing something.”
The current idea about the sixties was formed by The
Grateful Dead and Woodstock, but in the East Village
and lots of other places there was a very different 1960’s going on. The peace
and love college kids weren’t really part of it, except for the sex. And some
of the drugs.
OK, we didn’t have digital photography and video cameras, we
had to scrimp together money for 16mm or use super-eight, there were fewer tattoos
and no mosh pits. There were weird drugs (DMT) and weirder art events (Hermann
Nitsch’s animal-guts performances). There were cheap tenements and the garbage
strike in NYC, the Hell’s Angels owning a block on East 3rd St.
Of course we thought we were inventing it too, and probably
had some crusty old farts grumbling ‘they think they’re inventing something momentous.’