artists & participants
Max's Kansas City was a restaurant and bar in the heart of New York City which held a lengendary position. It functioned as the home and meeting place as well as an artistic laboratory for a whole generation of artists in the 60's and 70's.
The owner Mickey Ruskin (1933-1983) had an extraordinary sense for mood and atmosphere and gathered people from subcultural and artistic milieus around him. Musicians, visual artists, writers, actors and film people came together at Max's in a limitless underground culture which in its turn paved the way for minor and major stars and wannabes. Lou Reed, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono are just some of the famous people who would hang out at the bar.
The exhibition at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, was a tribute to these many artists as well as to to the vitality, energy and devil-may-care attitude which revolved around Mickey Ruskin, patron of the arts, and could be found in life at Max's in general. Works by a number of the photographers who have depicted life at Max's constituted a historcial collage, surrounding original works by the visual artists whose practice was based on and depended on the inspiration and support they found at Max's.
Many photographers were part of daily life at Max's, and a large volume of largely unpublished material exists, not only documenting events but also conveying the ambience of the legendary nightspot. This presentation of Max's Kansas City had at its core a large volume of pictures by Anton Perich and Billy Name, supplemented by pictures by a string of other photographers.
Furthermore, the exhibition included examples from Max's art universe: Dan Flavin's light installation which dominated Max's back room; works by Warhol and Rauschenberg from the period; Malcolm Morley's painting of the Ruskin family; Brigid Berlin's tit prints; a variation of Frosty Myer's laser installation, which ran from his studio and around several city blocks before ending up on a mirror on the jukebox loudspeaker inside Max's Kansas City; paintings executed by Anton Perich's painting machine; as well as works by other Max's artists.
An exhibition about Max's Kansas City will almost by definition be more than just a focus on a specific period of american history, it will also reflect developments since then in wide areas of the visual arts and rock music.
This exhibition contained works by and on the people who formed Max's spine. It was a combination of paintings, silkscreens, sculptures, photos as well as sound and video installations.
The following artists contributed to the exhibition: Brigid Berlin, Richard Bernstein, Lee Black Childers, George Dubose, Dan Flavin, Bob Gruen, Ray Johnson, Gerald Laing, Malcolm Morley, Tiger Morse, Frosty Myers, Billy Name, Anton Perich, Dustin Pittman, Robert Rauschenberg, Ira Schneider, Oliviero Toscani and Andy Warhol.
The exhibition was curated by visual artist Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen.
Max's Kansas City
Brigid Berlin, Richard Bernstein, Lee Black Childers, George DuBose, Dan Flavin, Bob Gruen, Ray Johnson, Gerald Laing, Malcolm Morley, Tiger Morse, Frosty Myers, Billy Name, Anton Perich, Dustin Pittman, Robert Rauschenberg, Ira Schneider, Oliviero Toscani, Andy Warhol.
Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen