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There has never been—and will never be—another nightclub to rival the sheer glamour, energy, and wild creativity that was Studio 54. This catalog accompanies an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum exploring how Studio 54 was a unique zeitgeist of an era.
From the moment it opened in 1977, Studio 54 celebrated spectacle and promised a never-ending parade of anything goes. Although it existed for only three years, it served as a catalyst that brought together some of the most famous, creative, and strangest people in the world. It quickly became known for its all-ages celebrity guest list and its uniquely chic clientele of superstars and freaks of all races and sexual preferences who would often show up half-dressed or in costume. From the cutting-edge lighting displays and sound system to its elaborate sets that would change on a whim, altering the environment and ambiance, it was the beginning of nightclub as performance art.
Now, the Brooklyn Museum is staging the first exhibition featuring the nightclub as a bellwether of New York City cultural life. More than 650 objects—spanning fashion, photography, drawings, film, and music—as well as video, film, and soundtrack, create an immersive experience, with an exhibition design inspired by the club’s original lighting and atmosphere. Highlights include never-before-published costume sketches by artist Antonio Lopez and newly discovered set designs, as well as ephemera salvaged by the original club staff and interviews with the cultural luminaries who were there.
Telling the story of this legendary club, as well as serving as a companion to the exhibition, Studio 54: Night Magic serves as a document of the era, depicting the wild energy and provocative creativity of this seminal cultural moment.
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