The Downtown Decade Soundtrack

We've been quite pleased by the reaction to the soundtrack we created for The Downtown Decade; in fact, one woman said, "I just want to stay all day and listen to the music." So for all of you who would like to recreate the experience in your own space, here is our song list, organized alphabetically by artist, and then by the names of the albums the songs were originally released on. Enjoy!

—Autoamerican: "The Tide Is High,” “Rapture,” "Walk Like Me”
—Parallel Lines: "One Way or Another,” "Heart Of Glass"
—"Call Me" (1980 single release; theme song from American Gigolo)

Bow Wow Wow
—I Want Candy: "I Want Candy"

The Clash
—Combat Rock: "Know Your Rights,” "Straight to Hell,” "Should I Stay or Should I Go,” "Rock the Casbah”

—Give 'Em Enough Rope: "All the Young Punks"
—London Calling: "Lost In the Supermarket,” “Clampdown,” "The Guns of Brixton,” "Revolution Rock,” "London Calling,” "Train In Vain”
—Sandinista!: "Police On My Back,” "The Magnificent Seven"
—The Singles: "This Is Radio Clash”

The Cramps
—Off the Bone: "Fever"

Fab 5 Freddy
—"Change The Beat" (1982 single release)

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
—Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: "White Lines"

Iggy Pop
—Lust for Life: "Lust for Life,” "The Passenger"

James Chance & The Contortions
—Live Aux Bains Douches—Paris 1980: "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough,” "My Infatuation,” "I Got You (I Feel Good)"

James White & The Blacks
—Off White: "Contort Yourself"

Kid Creole & The Coconuts
—In Praise of Older Women & Other Crimes: "Endicott"

Lizzy Mercier Descloux
—Press Color: “Wawa"

Lounge Lizards
—The Lounge Lizards: "Incident On South Street,” "Harlem Nocturne,” "Do the Wrong Thing,” "Au Contraire Arto,” "Well You Needn’t," “Ballad,” “Wangling,” "Conquest of Rar,” “Demented,” "I Remember Coney Island,” "Fatty Walks,” “Epistrophy,” "You Haunt Me”

Lydia Lunch
—Queen of Siam: "Atomic Bongos,” "Lady Scarface,” "Mechanical Flattery,” "Spooky"

—"3E" (1978 single release)

Public Image Ltd.
—Album: "Rise"
—Second Edition: “Albatross,” “Memories,” "Swan Lake,” “Poptones," “Careering,” “Socialist,” “Graveyard,” "The Suit,” "Bad Baby,” "No Birds,” “Chant,” "Radio 4”

—Ramones: "Blitzkrieg Bop,” "Judy Is a Punk,” "53rd & 3rd,” "Let's Dance”
—Leave Home: "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment,” "Suzy Is a Headbanger,” "California Sun,” "You're Gonna Kill That Girl”
—Rocket to Russia: "Rockaway Beach,” "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” "Teenage Lobotomy,” "Do You Wanna Dance?,” "Surfin' Bird"
—Road to Ruin: "I Wanna Be Sedated”
—End of the Century: "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?,” "Rock 'N' Roll High School,” "Danny Says”
—Subterranean Jungle: "Little Bit O' Soul”
—Halfway to Sanity: "I Wanna Live Ramones"
—Rock 'N' Roll High School (movie soundtrack): "Rock 'N' Roll High School"

Richard Hell & The Voidoids
—Blank Generation: "Blank Generation"

Sex Pistols
—Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols: "Pretty Vacant,” "New York"

—The Second Album + the First Rehearsal Tapes: “Radiation,” "Dream Baby Dream"

Talking Heads
—Fear of Music: "Life During Wartime,” “Heaven"
—More Songs About Buildings and Food: "Found a Job,” "Take Me to the River"
—Remain In Light: "Once In a Lifetime,” "Houses In Motion"
—Speaking In Tongues: "Burning Down the House,” "Making Flippy Floppy,” "Girlfriend Is Better,” "Slippery People,” “Swamp,” "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"
—Talking Heads: 77: "Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town,” "Psycho Killer"
—Little Creatures: "And She Was,” "Stay Up Late"
—True Stories: "Wild Wild Life"

—Marquee Moon: "See No Evil”, "Venus"

Time Zone
—Hard Cell: "World Destruction (feat. Afrika Bambaata & John Lydon)"

Tom Tom Club
—Tom Tom Club: "Genius of Love"

Posted in on October 02 2015

The Story Behind the Ramones Album Covers

The cover image of the first Ramones album (1976)—which the record company paid only $125 for—was shot by Punk magazine’s Roberta Bayley, and features the four band members leaning against a brick wall in New York City, dressed in t-shirts, sneakers, ripped jeans, and leather jackets. When Ramones was released, the cover made a huge visual impression in stores, even though actual record sales lagged (it would take an additional 35 years for the album to go gold). Danny Fields, the Ramones’ manager, has stated that Bayley’s image “was perfect,” and it served to both establish the Ramones culturally and create what would become the “punk look.” It is now considered one of the most important and definitive music images of the decade.

Leave Home (1977) was the Ramones’ second album, and in a misguided attempt to “upscale” the band, the record company took over the design of the album and chose a well-known fashion photographer shoot the cover. Printed in full color and utilizing the skewed perspectives and modern aesthetic of high-end editorial work, the resulting image was the antithesis of the gritty, downtown urban persona the band had previously embodied. Fields has referred to this cover as both a “disaster” and a marketing “nightmare.”


For Rocket to Russia, the band’s third album (1977), Fields was determined to recapture the visual identity Bayley had established so memorably on Ramones. The original location of the first shoot was no longer available, so Fields found an alley with a similar appearance behind CBGBs and photographed the band himself, positioning the members to not so much replicate Bayley’s iconic prototype as pay a respectful homage to it and channel its unorthodox mood and power. However, Fields also wanted to clearly differentiate Rocket to Russia from the purely black-and-white look of the first album, so for the cover type he requested a strong hot pink color—a deliberately not-ordinary hue—that was only possible with a fifth plate. Initially, the record company resisted the extra expense, but after continuous prodding from Fields, they finally agreed to the color, which would go on to become “punk pink,” the emblematic color standard of the entire punk movement.

Posted in Art, Design, Photography on September 29 2015

“Downtown Decade” Opening Reception

A few photographs from last night's opening reception...!

For more information about the "Downtown Decade" exhibition and to view the catalog, click here

Posted in Art, Design, Literature, Photography on September 16 2015

A Sneak Peek at “The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985”

The Downtown Decade will be on display Thursday, September 10–Saturday through October 10, 2015.

Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 15th, 6–8 pm

For more information about the exhibition and related events, click here

Posted in Art, Design, Photography on September 10 2015

A quick look at the 2015 Summer Show…!

The Summer Show is now open through Saturday, August 15th! 


Posted in Art on July 08 2015

A Video Interview with Jack Walls by Michael Kasino

A short video interview with the subject of RARE's initial Artist Spotlight, Jack Walls, by filmmaker Michael Kasino, shot on-site in the gallery:

Posted in Art on June 12 2015

Sneak Peek at Our First Artist Spotlight, Featuring the Work of Jack Walls

A quick look at our upcoming exhibition:


Please join us tonight, Thursday June 4th from 6-8pm, for the opening reception.

Posted in Art on June 04 2015

10 Questions for Jack Walls

Each of our Artist Spotlights will include a 10-question interview with the featured individual, in this case the multi-talented Hudson-based painter Jack Walls.

Mr. Walls has been a fixture on the New York creative scene since the early 1980s, when he became both the last partner and muse of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. His main aesthetic focuses have been collage and painting, and he has served as a willing mentor for numerous up-and-coming artists. In addition to his visual work, he is also an established poet and author, most notably for The Ebony Prick of the White Rose's Thorn.

Jack Walls and Robert Mapplethorpe, 1985
Gilles Larrain

R: First, tell us a bit about yourself: where you're from, a bit of your history, how you came to this point in time.
JW: My parents were from Mississippi, I was born in Chicago. When I was young, I mean really young, one of my earliest memories is sitting around the kitchen table drawing with my two oldest brothers. We did that every evening after we'd finished up our home work. I'm talking about this because you wanted to know how I came to this point in my life. The truth is I've always been an artist, people have told me so all my life, long before I decided to live in New York. I took my skills as an artist for granted for a long time.

R: Had you always wanted to work in the arts? Were there any people in particular who encouraged your creative aspirations?
JW: It's not that I wanted to work in the arts, because that's not really "work" being an artist, it's a labor of love, more of a calling, I'd say. When I moved to New York I met Mary Nittolo; she recognized and treated me as an artist immediately, she was really influential. She was an early mentor.

R: You work in both the visual arts and the spoken/written word; do you feel those two genres derive from entirely different sides of your creativity, or are they interlinked?
JW: For me it's all the same, one feeds off the other.

R: How much of yourself do you imbue into your works? Are they highly personal in nature, or more observant?
JW: Off the cuff I would say more observant, but everything is autobiographical, so yeah, it's personal too.

Jack Walls, cover image for The Ebony Prick of the White Rose's Thorn
Photograph: Steven Sebring

R: You've recently moved to Hudson, a town known for its vibrant artistic community. Do you feel this new location has had an impact on your work?
JW: Yeah, more space....

R: What was the inspiration for this new series of paintings?
JW: The HEADS? Without any hesitation I'd say Picasso and Basquiat. I wanted to paint something raw because basically I'm an elegant person in my artistic style: my writing style is elegant, my drawing leans towards the elegant; I didn't want my painting to be like that, too. I wanted to do something—well, at least to me—aggressive. I thought about what they said when you went to the zoo, about bearing your teeth to animals, like if you smile at an animal they take it as a sign of aggression because they kill with their teeth, so hence all the teeth.


Maasai 1

Lingua Rojo


R: Why portraits?
JW: I see these as studies, maybe as character studies. But these are good to do because it's just like in life: rarely do two people have the same face, but we all have faces.

For Johnny T

Alexander (Portrait)


R: Is this the medium you prefer working in? Are there other techniques you would like to explore more deeply?
JW: We'll see. I pretty much like all the disciplines; I'm even beginning to appreciate photography [laughs].

R: Who are some of your favorite artists, authors, creators, working today?
JW: That's a loaded question, because most of my friends are super talented and I don't want to leave anyone out, but out of pure respect I have to say Patti Smith.


R: What is your next project?
JW: I'm going paint and have shows; I like painting, it's something I can do gracefully into the long night.

Posted in Art on June 01 2015

The Cinema Work of the Stenberg Brothers

Some of the most visually arresting graphics created for the Soviet cinema of the 1920s were developed by Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, better known as simply the Stenberg Brothers. Their groundbreaking use of acid colors, fractured planes, and distorted perspectives converted the necessarily realistic nature of film marketing into stunningly complex and uniquely captivating designs.

Vladimir Stenberg                                            Georgii Stenberg

Born only a year apart from each other—Vladimir in 1899 and Georgii in 1900—to a Swedish father and a Russian mother, the brothers always worked in tandem: a later photo of them taken in their studio shows how closely related their work spaces were, and is indicative of their unique teamwork.

 The Stenberg Brothers in their studio, c. 1930

Their first film poster was for a movie titled The Eyes of Love in 1923. They initially signed it “Sten,” as they were unsure of further commissions, but after the successful completion of their third poster, the signature was changed to “2Stenberg2,” which was used on all subsequent work. One visual device the Stenbergs incorporated into their work was the placement of broad swaths of contrasting hues to create a sense of vibration and movement. They also utilized unprecedented amounts of black as a background color.

The Eyes of Love, 1923

What truly made their cinema work remarkable, though, were their dynamic and innovative layouts, accomplished through their singular use of montage. However, what appear to be photographs are in fact tightly-rendered drawings. Much like the state of printing in Germany at that time, the printing of quality photographs was rarely achievable, particularly for the large runs necessary for film advertising. The process the Stenbergs developed to overcome this situation was a projection machine that allowed them to visually blow-up reference images, as well as distort them for effect.

 The Traitor, 1926                                                     Man from the Forest, 1928

On a practical level, this allowed them to create hand-drawn, large-scale simulacra of film stills that retained the appearance of photomontage, yet were easily printable. Aesthetically, the distortions and scaling also permitted them to inject a vivid sense of cinematic movement into what is essentially a static form. These techniques were also utilized in the creation of ancillary material for the film industry, as in the two wrapper proofs below, both currently on display in our Construcitivist exhibition.


A Decent Life

In all, the Stenberg Brothers created almost 300 film posters, and numerous related materials. They also developed sets and costumes for the theater; designed clothing and shoes; contributed to LEF; participated in the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris; and taught at the Architecture-Construction Institute in Moscow. Their unique partnership ended tragically in 1933, when Georgii was killed in a motorcycle accident. Vladimir continued working in design, but never achieved singly what was accomplished so powerfully in teamwork with his brother.

Posted in on May 24 2015

“Constructivist Design for the Soviet Cinema” Exhibition Now Open

A quick look at "Constructivist Design for the Soviet Cinema," now on display through May 30th, 2015. Browse the catalogue here.

Posted in Art, Design on May 01 2015

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