Bande à part exhibition

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Tuesday afternoon I finally made it over to ‘Bande à part‘, a large photo exhibition in the former Cine-Art House in Sun Hung Kai Centre. The show has been open for a month already and will close on November 10th.

Bande à part is a peek at the individuals behind New York’s downtown scene in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I recognized a good portion of the people before reading the captions. Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, Deborah Harry aka Blondie, Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Ramones, Fab Five Freddy, and David Johansen were icons of the era, and appear in many of the photos here.

The faces in the pictures are often rough, defiant, and seemingly under the influence of something. New York was a tough town in those days, and these people were the wild flowers growing through cracks in the pavement.

A quick scan of the over two-hundred photos will make you realize just how many of the carefully crafted “looks” of today, were the result of this collection of artists, singers, and all around outlaws. The show contains photos from ten photographers who were in the midst of New York’s underground as it was evolving.

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The renovated cinema is excellent as a gallery. The two theaters have been converted – quite successfully, to large open spaces. This is the best photography show I’ve been to in years, partially because you can step back and take in the work.

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The original prints from many of the photos are available for sale, as are limited edition t-shirts and bags. Agnes B., the underwriter and patron of the show deserves credit for repeatedly bringing interesting exhibits to Hong Kong. She’s been on the forefront of art and film for over a decade, and was early to embrace global street art as well. Hong Kong has benefited from her consistent support of the arts over the years.


A quick note about the Wanchai Cine-Art House

The Cine-Art House was always a strange entity in the Sun Hung Kai shopping and office plaza. It had sort of a liberal agenda, and would show a wide spectrum of independent fare, sometimes conflicting with its genteel surroundings. I caught some memorable films there over the years, most notably Takeshi Miike’s “The Happiness of the Katakuris,” which, upon arriving a little late, and finding my seat during the claymation sequence, I thought I was in the wrong theater!

The “Bande à part” exhibition is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 to 8:00 pm. The address is, ground floor, Sun Hung Kai Centre, shop no. G3, 30 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Island. For more information, call 2869-5505.

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