Charlie Ahearn is known as an independent filmmaker, but he’s much more than that. He’s perhaps better described as a community filmmaker. For his films The Deadly Art of Survival (1979) and Wild Style (1983), he connected with local communities of young New Yorkers (many of them teenagers) and worked with them to make movies that starred these amateur actors essentially playing themselves.
A few times during her talk last week, historian and curator Yasmin Ramírez looked over at the copy of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era by Julia Bryan-Wilson sitting on the table in front of her. It wasn’t a look of love. Each time she referenced the book it was, at least in part, with a sense of frustration that despite being one of the only books devoted to the subject of the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC), Bryan-Wilson largely left out the involvement of black and Puerto Rican artists, who played critical roles in the efforts of the group.
Thirty-two years after being labeled the “first radical art show of the ’80s,” the Times Square Show, a raucous and revolutionary DIY art exhibition held in an abandoned massage parlor on 41st Street and Seventh Avenue in the old dirty and devastated Times Square, has been revived by the Hunter College Art Galleries in the exhibition Times Square Show Revisited.