Treasures From the Joey Arias Archive
Wednesday, Sep 05, 2018 - Friday, Sep 28, 2018
277 Grand Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10002
Joey Arias, Avant Garde performance artist, cabaret singer, and globally renowned nightlife legend, presents his eclectic archive, spanning a singular career from the 1970s to present day. From Arias’ 1979 appearance alongside Klaus Nomi and David Bowie on Saturday Night Live to his 2011 surrealist puppet show with puppeteer Basil Twist entitled “Arias with a Twist”, Arias’ life and work defies any traditional label, category or type, Arias’ image and style exists in a class all its own.
The Joey Arias Archive collects rare treasures from every stage of his career and his many forms of performance. The exhibition begins with his early career in Los Angeles, his education in the Groundlings in the 1970s, and his move to New York later in the decade. Moving into the 1980s, the archive documents Arias working by day at iconic New York boutique Fiorucci, while performing and holding court at Club 57 with the likes of Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Ann Magnuson by night.
Arias’ eccentric story continues into the 1990s as he exploded into the cabaret circuit, channeling the vocal stylings and mannerisms of Billie Holiday and performing regularly with Raven-O, Edwige Belmore, Sherry Vine and other special guest performers at downtown lounges such as Bar d’O. In 2003, Arias took on the role of Mistress of Ceremonies in a six-year run of Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. Still performing and touring today, Arias remains a masterful creative force and unparalleled trailblazer, captivating both star-studded and starstruck audiences, alike.
Klaus Nomi, (January 22, 1944 – August 6, 1983), was a legendary vocalist and performance artist with roots in opera, as well as close friend and collaborator to Joey Arias. As the executor of Nomi’s will, Joey Arias’ collection is presented in conjunction with Nomi’s extraordinary life and work. Nomi’s spectacular artistic output was cut short by his battle with AIDS in 1983, years before the scope of the epidemic was realized and recognized. Left behind in Arias’ hands were Nomi’s treasures from a career that was only just beginning. Presented in this exhibition are artifacts hand-picked by Boo-Hooray from both of these mind-blowing collections. This includes artful flyers and handbills spanning Arias’ fantastically eclectic career: rarely before seen illustrations and documentation of Arias’ cabaret, drag and punk shows, original costumes, drawings by Thierry Mugler, and spectacular photography ranging from professional fashion shoots, behind-the-scenes snapshots, and personal Polaroids. From Nomi’s archive, the exhibition showcases drawings, ephemera, and manuscripts including hand-drawn plans for an unfinished opera that communicate with Arias’ own oeuvre on display.
Treasures from the Joey Arias Archive will be the inaugural exhibition at Boo-Hooray’s new Chinatown gallery and bookshop, located at 277 Grand St, 3rd Floor.
Please join us for an opening reception on Wednesday September 5, 2018, from 6:00–8:00 PM. The exhibition will close Friday September 28th.
Viewing hours: Monday-Friday, 10AM-6PM