An exhibition of work by Ben Buchanan will reveal previously unseen photographs of artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and David Hockney relaxing and revealing in 1980s New York. The show, History is a Nightclub: Downtown Area, NYC, 1983-87 at London’s Peter Harrington gallery, also includes shots of a host of other celebrities, from Grace Jones and John Waters to Sting and the Beastie Boys.
London-born Buchanan achieved access to the great and the good of the 80s through his role as the in-house photographer at NYC nightclub Area after moving to the US in the late 70s. Area was known for its highly creative atmosphere, both in terms of its clientele and its output from highly coveted invitations to perpetually changing installations often brought in from movie sets. The exhibition features images of Basquiat painting and DJing at the club as well as Keith Haring leading round a man daubed with his signature graphic patterns.
“They were always creating something, even when they were relaxing ,” recounts Buchanan.” At a meal for the assembled artists there was a sketchbook being passed around – Jean-Michel [Basquiat] drew a portrait of Playboy contributing illustrator] Leroy Neiman – Andy [Warhol] tipped out a bowl of snow peas onto his page, crushed them in, and signed it.”
Buchanan, who currently works as a fine art conservator in London, has been regularly featured in The Face and The New York Post and has since worked with the owners of Area on the interior design of a string of restaurants, bars and boutique hotels. The show runs between 3 – 31 October at Peter Harrington in Mayfair.