Celebrating Mr. Fashion: A Tribute to Performance Artist Gerard Little
The Museum of Modern Art
Gerard Little pictured on a flyer for Fashion Horror at Limelight, 1985 (detail). Designed by Albert Crudo.
New Jersey–born artist and performer Gerard Little (aka Frankie Lymon’s Nephew, Mahogany Plywood, Velvet Johnson, and Mr. Fashion) was ubiquitous on New York City’s Downtown scene from the 1980s until his death from AIDS-related complications in 2008. Appearing regularly at venues like Club 57, Pyramid Club, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Limelight, and the Kitchen, he worked with Ethyl Eichelberger, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Bill Landis, Peter Kwaloff, Jacob Burckhardt, and Royston Scott, to name a few. In his early years on stage, Little was virtually the only black male performer in the white-dominated clubs of lower Manhattan. Despite pioneering contributions to the evolution of queer performance, the lack of readily available documentation and commentary on his life and career has left his legacy fragile. Collaborators Burckhardt, Scott, Mimi Gross, Douglas Landau, and Joan Marie Moossy come together to share an afternoon of rare images and videos in remembrance of a scene-stealing New York legend.
Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983 was the first major exhibition to fully examine the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of the seminal downtown New York alternative space Club 57. The exhibition taps into the legacy of Club 57’s founding curatorial staff—film programmers Susan Hannaford and Tom Scully, exhibition organizer Keith Haring, and performance curator Ann Magnuson—to examine how the convergence of film, video, performance, art, and curatorship in the club environment of New York in the 1970s and 1980s became a model for a new spirit of interdisciplinary endeavor. Responding to the broad range of programming at Club 57, the exhibition presents their accomplishments across a range of disciplines—from film, video, performance, and theater to photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, zines, fashion design, and curating. Building on extensive research and oral history, the exhibition features many works that have not been exhibited publicly since the 1980s.