Celebrating Nearly 30 Years of ‘The East Village Eye’ with the Howl! Happening Gallery

Posted on: September 16th, 2016 at 9:32 am by

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East Village Eye’s 1st Issue, May 1979. Photo: East Village Eye

If you were a denizen of the downtown scene in the ’80s, you probably couldn’t wait to get your hands on the latest issue of the East Village Eye. Or maybe you came here because of what it vividly described.

Published from May 1979 to January 1987, the monthly magazine featured extensive coverage of pop and avant garde culture, zeroing in on several key scenes, often born in the East Village. Readers learned about punk, new wave and hip hop by reading the “Eye.”

(Its first office was at 167 Ludlow Street.)

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Photo: East Village Eye

Many credit the Eye with creating the East Village art explosion, heralding artists such as Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Sue Coe, Barbara Kruger and Kiki Smith. So much so that, in its success, it may have helped usher in its own demise. In April 1986, the magazine ran a feature on the rise of “The East Village Yuppie.” Sixth months earlier, the Eye’s art editor, Carlo McCormick, had published an obituary for the neighborhood’s art scene. By the beginning of 1987, the Eye was gone.

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: East Village Eye

In the early days of hip hop (back when it was still called “rap”), the Eye covered early stories about Fab Five Freddy, Futura 2000, Run DMC and the Rock Steady Crew. It was also allegedly the first publication to print the words “hip hop.”

Its chroniclers of downtown included Richard Hell, Cookie Mueller and Glenn O’Brien. The Eye covered new and groundbreaking artists in a broad swath of sometimes outrageous forms: performances by Karen Finlay and Ethyl Eichelberger, music from the Lounge Lizards and the Beastie Boys, films by Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch and Nick Zedd, and fashion from Patricia Field, Trash & Vaudeville and Betsey Johnson.

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Invitation for opening and party this week

Almost 30 years later, a number of events are celebrating The Eye. “It’s All True: The East Village Eye,” an exhibit of old issues, artwork and writing from the magazine, curated by The Eye’s editor and publisher Leonard Abrams, opens today at the Howl! Happening gallery. A special edition catalog will be available for free at the opening.

Following the opening will be an East Village Eye party at the Delancey from 10pm to the historically appropriate hour of 4am, featuring people from the pages of The Eye: James Chance & The Contortions, Lenny Kaye and the Sic F*cks with Tish & Snooky of Manic Panic.

Tickets for the party on Friday are available here.

Special Events are also planned. Check the Howl! Happening website and the East Village Eye facebook page for more updates. As of press time, here is the schedule:

September 18: Panel Discussion
September 24: New/No Wave Films
September 25: Cinema of Transgression
October 6: Channeling the Dead: Readings of stories by deceased writers Kathy Acker, Cookie Mueller, Rene Ricard, David Wojnarowicz and (too many) others.

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