Anyone who paid attention to (or disdained, admired or aspired to be a part of) NYC’s rock’n’roll revival circa 2001-2011 understands the importance of author Lizzy Goodman’s oral history, Meet Me In The Bathroom. Goodman let the very people involved speak for themselves—weaving their words to support origin stories and break-ups, low points and milestones. Nothing will ever explain the chemistry of the genre or the explosive interest worldwide, but Goodman’s book provides insight that traces lines between sonic stepping-stones and wildly successful tracks. It’s the first (and best) testament to the time—and now Goodman and film director Hala Matar have translated the work into an exhibition.
Presented by Vans, and organized by the UTA Artist Space and CH favorite The Hole gallery, Meet Me In The Bathroom: The Art Show acts as more than a visual counterpart to the book. It’s an invitation to step back into the grime of the times. More than 40 artworks (new and archival) and noteworthy objects from past performances drench attendees in the infamous decade, as well as its influences and legacy. Within walking distance from some of the very venues that birthed the scene, the gallery’s walls are dotted with art experiments that would become album covers. From instruments and costumes glowing in the gallery lights to recreations of divey bathroom stalls (reminiscent of the iconic CBGB’s toilet, formerly across the street).
Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes, Paul Banks of Interpol, Adam Green of the Moldy Peaches and Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are some of the musicians who’ve contributed art. Alongside their work, paintings, photographs and sculptures from celebrated artists like Rita Ackermann, Doug Aitken, Urs Fischer, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, and Rob Pruitt underscore the ephemeral, experimental nature of time times. Throughout the run, there will also be performances by the bands that the exhibit honors. Goodman has referred to the exhibition as an impressionistic recollection and all of this enhances every sensation.
As curators, Goodman and Matar invite guests to lift the veil on NYC’s aughts—and there they find community and creativity more than an illusion of scene. For those who took part, even tangentially, it’s a welcome, albeit rough, trip down memory lane. And for those who missed out on the movement, the exhibition offers exciting access and a taste of the truth.
As of 3 September, Absolut Art will sell seven limited edition, signed art prints from Meet Me In The Bathroom: The Art Show, with prices starting at $199. The exhibition itself will run at The Hole 4-22 September.
Hero image of assorted mics from Karen O, 2003-2015