Getting Close to Some of NYC’s Punks, Poets, & Provocateurs

Posted on: December 4th, 2015 at 10:28 am by

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Andy Warhol

When I asked Marcia Resnick and Victor Bockris how they met, Victor (recounting a story from 1975) said, “I hated her!” – he laughed. Seeing the two of them sitting together across from me, it was hard to imagine a time when they weren’t artistic collaborators and the best of friends.

Especially now, with their book Punk, Poets, & Provocateurs (which was released on November 10), it seems like these talented individuals were meant to meet each other and pull together this perfectly married collection of photographs and text. This book displays a collection of images by Marcia Resnick, focusing on New York City Bad Boys from 1977 to 1982. Artists, writers, directors, musicians – all of them are represented. With written commentary by Victor Bockris and additional writings from other notable artists (e.g. Richard Hell, John Waters), we are given a sense of what these New York City rebels were all about. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure most of us can admit that we don’t mind staring at a few bad-boy pictures of Johnny Thunders or Mick Jagger.

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Marcia and Mick Jagger

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Joey Ramone

To provide some background, Marcia is a New York native. Studying art at NYU and Cooper Union undergrad, she later attended graduate school at California Institute of the Arts for conceptual art. In the early 1970s she began her focus on photography, eventually self-publishing three books, with her art being displayed in some of the most recognizable museums internationally – Museum of Modern art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Museum, just to name a few. However, it would be an incredible understatement to say that Marcia is “well known for her photography.” Victor put it best: “When I met Marcia, she was an equal intellectual artist to Andy Warhol and William Burroughs. What she turned me onto in conversations and insights, was the same level as them. And they saw that! Burroughs said, “she’s one of us,” and Warhol would ask, “Where’s that skinny girl?”

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John Belushi

Victor Bockris, well known for his talent at writing and interviewing, has published multiple books on some of the most famous artists and pop culture icons in modern times – including Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, William Burroughs, and Muhammed Ali. Victor is able to capture the magic of these personalities and the Counterculture that surrounded some of the most talked about events in our history.

Victor’s world was that of the Warhol Factory and the William Burroughs Bunker. Marcia represented the Punk Generation. Shifting back and forth between these worlds, they were able to provide each other with experiences that affected and shaped both of their artistic ventures. “We really inspired each other. She took me in her world, I took her into my world. We instantly started doing things together.”

From 1977 to about 1982 (the end of the New York City Bad Boys project), they would run into each other. “I would interview her, she would take pictures of me. It was just a natural combustion between us. Mostly we had this collaborative sensibility – we never talked about it. It just happened. In the book, the photo of Marcia and I was taken the second time we ever met.”

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Mick Jagger, William Burroughs, Andy Warhol

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Johnny Rotten – John Lydon

But how did Marcia get inspired to make a book of all her photographs?

“I always thought about books. I loved the idea of somebody being able to look at a photograph, or a series of photographs, on the other side of the world, in their own life. To experience what I have experienced.” Having already published the book titled Re-visions where she confronts herself, Marcia wanted to continue the confrontations on those she understood the least. “I wanted to confront men because I didn’t understand them, and I wanted to do it in the from of portraiture.”

Marcia was fluid, going in and out of different scenes, and as a result gaining accessibility to a wide array of people. Inviting them to get their photograph taken after a long night out, or by appointment, her loft became a very creative scene on a different level than CBGB or Max’s Kansas City. Victor so aptly puts, “Every single picture in the book was the result of a seduction. All the eyes in the photographs are really reacting to Marcia in that moment. It’s a wonderful thing.”

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William Burroughs

Although travel was an enormous part of her work, all the published pictures were snapped in New York City, which was considered the cultural capital of the world at that time with Warhol, William Boroughs, and Punk right in the center of it. “I mean, the 70s!” Victor says, “We all experienced the incredible glory of the 60s, and then you had the Nixon administration coming in in ’68, and they made a very serious and destructive attack on the Counterculture. They destroyed people, put people in jail. It was an enormous thing. Really up until Nixon resigned in ’74, the Counterculture was in great trouble. And we were beginning our careers, we were trying to find our way, doing our work. But in the year 1974, Allen Ginsburg won the National Book Award, William Burroughs returned after 25 years in exile, Andy Warhol moved to a new Factory, and Punk began. It was an amazing culture shift, and Marcia’s work really rode that wave.”

And ride that wave she did. Punks, Poets, & Provocateurs” is no doubt a unique time capsule of New York City personalities. Full of unique images of people that we are all sure to recognize, Marcia and Victor’s collaboration has provided us with an intimate look into their lives through a photographers lens.

And as Victor so unforgettably states, “Artists that change the world – count Marcia in on that.”

Upcoming Events:
Book signing December 4 at The Cast. 72 Orchard Street 7pm-8pm, NYC
Photography Exhibit February 3 at Howl! Happening, NYC

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Punks, Poets & Provocateurs

All photographs © 2015 Marcia Resnick from Punks, Poets & Provocateurs: New York City Bad Boys 1977-1982 by Marcia Resnick and Victor Bockris, published by Insight Editions. Used with permission.

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