Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper, Ishmael Houston-Jones Them
The AIDS epidemic had a devastating, lasting impact on the downtown artist community. Some of Performance Space New York’s most influential artists (John Bernd, Ethyl Eichelberger, Ron Vawter, David Wojnarowicz among many others) died prematurely, leaving a gaping hole in this community and a subsequent generation without important mentorship. When Ishmael Houston-Jones first started working on THEM at Performance Space 122 in 1985, with a text by Dennis Cooper and a cacophonous live electric guitar score by Chris Cochrane, it was intended to be a poetic and frank coming-of-age story of gay men. By the time it was first premiered here in 1986, AIDS was ravaging queer communities, and the artists felt it would be disingenuous not to address it in the work. They consequently included coded allusions to the epidemic and turned THEM into one of the most haunting pieces of art that came out of the early AIDS years.
- June 21–30 7:30pm
- Post-Show Talk with Visual AIDS on June 27