An Avant Garde Diaries Dispatch: Agathe Snow and Bill Beckley on the NYC Party Scene

by Gabriela Vainsencher on August 27, 2013 Sponsor

Bill Beckley & Agathe Snow – Art of the Night from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo

Sometimes art and fun times go hand in hand. The dadaists partied at Cabaret Voltaire, Andy Warhol and friends had The Factory, and Ross Bleckner was not only a permanent fixture of The Mudd Club—he owned the building. Party scenes have traditionally been open, accepting environments to which artists were drawn.

Inspired by the recent show at Friedman Benda gallery And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music, the latest installment of The Avant/Garde Diaries takes an intimate look at two artists in the show: Bill Beckley and Agathe Snow.

Beckley contributes The Bathroom to the exhibition, a 1976 piece that uses text and photographs to depict an intimate encounter in a club bathroom. As Beckley tells it, his work from the early 70’s was “trying to escape this box of minimalism.” He remembers New York and its club scene as somewhere where he felt like “something was new.”

Agathe Snow, a food-making, flotsam-sculpture devising, dance-a-thon instigating artist represents the generation that came of age in the late 1990’s New York party scene. “I’ve always felt like an outsider, even with myself,” Snow tells The Avant/Garde Diaries, a feeling the press more commonly labeled “escapism” when it came to colleagues like Dash Snow and Dan Colen. Some of that comes through here too, when Snow cites Period clubs such as Passerby and The Marquee as settings in which she always felt good, where she could “be free… just do whatever, wear whatever.”

Snow’s installation for the Friedman Benda show was a sculpture of a lonely-looking human figure made of wire, tulle, foam, pastille, duct tape, disco ball and blond wig. The sculpture stands in the middle of the party, not quite knowing what to do with herself. It’s Snow’s self-described outsiderness, embodied in an assemblage figure.

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