Studio 54, the night club that shaped the design of sociability

It was set up inside a theatre and redefined the concept of what an entertainment space is. Now an exhibition (actually postponed) celebrates it forty years after its closure.

Studio 54 was the quintessential night club that during its brief but intense years has shaped the idea of sociability altogether. Then it’s slightly odd to write about it while Covid–19 is trying to leave an indelible mark on our already threatened social dynamic: if the good news is that such an important institution as the Brooklyn Museum dedicates an exhibition to it right now, the bad one is in fact that the opening scheduled for March 13th has been temorarily posponed just due to the anti–coronavirus measures.

Opened in 1977 by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell in a former opera house on West 54th street, until its closing in 1980 it was the epicenter of a certain inventive, innovative and, above all, prejudice–free idea of being together, incidentally redefining the image of a city in a socially and economically tense moment.

And if its hosts and regulars are well known, less or nothing is known about the artists, architects, set designers, light designers and sound designers — among which Tony awards and Academy awards winners as Jules Fisher, Paul Marantz and Tony Walton — who have made Studio 54 the driving force of Disco culture, the long wave of whose aesthetic canons is perfectly clear still today.

The hundredth exhibition by Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture of the Brooklyn Museum Matthew Yokobosky, Studio 54 : Night Magic aims to fix this mistake. On display from 13 of March to 5 of July, besides the many and mostly never shown before photographs that portray a whole era, original projects and objects that help understanding in details the impressive creative mechanism that gave life to the club: a special vantage point, or a sort of behind the scenes, of a world of joy and celebrations, to which we can look with nostalgia and hope, now more than ever.

Studio 54 : Night Magic
Opening dates:
From March 13 to July 5, 2020
Curated by:
Matthew Yokobosky
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York

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