Art Nerd City Guides: New York · Los Angeles

Danceteria

Like most 1980s art meccas in New York, the epic Danceteria club, where Keith Haring was a busboy, is of course now luxury condos. Madonna worked there as a hat check girl (and subsequently performed for the first time, as well as hung with her then-boyfriend Jean-Michel Basquiat). The club had six floors of music, and a video lounge designed by video artists John Sanborn and Kit Fitzgerald, where they showed video art, early music videos and found footage. Aside from being a center of New Wave music, Danceteria went beyond just clubbing- and hosting art performances like Kembra Pfahler before she developed her Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black persona. You can glimpse a snippet of what the club was actually like, although cinematically, in Desperately Seeking Susan (with Madonna, duh).

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There aren’t many places left in New York where creative clubbing in as immersive as these places were- where art, music and nightlife intersects. Kenny Scharf‘s Cosmic Cavern and CHERYL parties are two of my favorites that keep this spirit alive.

Madonna at Danceteria by Maripol

Madonna at Danceteria by Maripol

danceteria

Kembra Pfahler and Gordon Kurtti performing

Kembra Pfahler and Gordon Kurtti performing

Betsey Johnson celebrating her 38th birthday in 1980

Betsey Johnson celebrating her 38th birthday in 1980

What: Danceteria

Where: 30 West 21st Street

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