New York Magazine looks at the background to the Brooklyn Museum’s show exploring the making of Keith Haring by focusing on the four years leading up to his breakout 1982 show at Tony Shafrazi’s gallery. Before that he was hanging out in a St. Mark’s Pl. basement with Kenny Scharf and Ann Magnuson:
At the time, the club scene had its own rigid taxonomy. CBGB was for punks; Max’s Kansas City, which had been for Warhol Superstars, was on its way out; the Mudd Club was for “No Wave” misfits and their hard-partying hangers-on. In the basement of that Polish church on St. Marks, yet another species thrived, one that overlapped with the Mudd Club crowd but was younger, scrappier, sillier, and more earnestly experimental than the rest. Scharf and Magnuson’s crew watched monster movies, read poetry, threw doo-wop dance parties, staged musical revues, played putt-putt, mounted art shows, and, on one occasion, hosted a ladies’ wrestling night where the contenders dressed up as cockroaches and nuns. Part basement den, part art gallery, part Dada cabaret, Club 57 was an ephemeral, anything-goes environment where artists and performers had carte blanche to test-drive their wildest dreams. It lasted only from 1978 to 1983. There was barely any money involved. Most events were one night only.