Remaking the Scene: Club 21 Launch

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Prince Cassius
Prince Cassius—one of Britain's best dressed men as voted by GQ magazine at the launch of Club 21

Hundreds of VIP guests turned out for the opening night party for Club 21 – Remaking the Scene, which opened to the public today.

Jazz legend Steve Piccolo, who is co-curator of the show, played guitar with other artists, then the guests took the floor with a jamming session until midnight.

Piccolo said today that the evening had been in keeping with the spirit of Club 21, which brings artists to work together and seeks  to involve the public in the creative process. The show is free and runs until October 23, with different events and performances every day.

The opening night crowd also took a break from the exhibits to sprawl and talk on a giant black, cross-shaped bed in the red-lit crypt of this former church.

Perhaps there were too many people around but no one took up the offer of its creator, Jota Castro, to make love on the bed. The show does still has 10 days to run, however.

In the main nave of the building is another cross by Castro, this one upright and made of solar panels, to symbolise the new “religion” of environmentalism.

Club 21 – Remaking the Scene is a hub of works in progress, where sound art and performance are presented alongside installations, inviting interaction between artists and audience.

It also features photographs, some previously unpublished, of figures from the New York club scene of the 1980s, including Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, Madonna, Bianca Jagger and Edwige Belmore, by photographers Edo Bertoglio and Stephen Torton.

It was the widely perceived lack of a “scene” today that prompted the curator Oxana Maleeva (Art Apart), in partnership with gallerist Natasha Akhmerova (Barbarian Art Gallery), to conceive Club 21 – Remaking the Scene.

At One Marylebone the scene is set as soon as visitors walk through the door into what looks like a vintage nightclub lobby, reminiscent of art scenes such as New York in the 1980s, Perestroika-era Russia, and the English and California punk scenes and artist-run occupied spaces in Milan.

The main hall is the backdrop for sound events, performances and, as well as for large sculptures and installations. Steve Piccolo, the sound art curator,  has invited a number of outstanding composers and sound experimenters, including Laurie Spiegel, to contribute recorded pieces that play with the idea of the “conversation”.

A Constructed World invites people to contribute to a paper room with drawings and texts; Evgeny Yufit presents performances based on those of the NecroRealists during the Perestroika era in St Petersburg; the Italo-Russian artist Marc Vincent Kalinka poses as a security guard in a live performance of his original video Still (Nothing).

The Russian artist and former submariner Alexander Ponomorev has installed two giant trees with submariners floating from them as though peering into periscopes.

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