Enter our ambitious newcomer to the scene: Rosson Crow. Rosson is a history painter, or rather a very exciting update to a history painter, and as such she knows all about the old Bowery and the current one, much more systematically and thoroughly than I have laid it out here, and she turns this layering of history into layered, glorious paintings. She is a “site specific painter” in the sense that she travels to and often lives for an extended time in the city she plans to make an exhibition in, taking the opportunity to immerse herself in the local scene, experience and photograph the contemporary venues of interest, and thoroughly research and archive images of its past. For Bowery Boys Rosson lived in the city for six months, researching the 1880s Bowery scene, the 1980s downtown scene, and today’s artists connection to and deviation from those precedents, in search of what makes right now so unique.
Rosson seeks to explore how “bad boys” – or lets say renegade illegal activity of either gender I suppose – have shaped the cultural history of New York, and also how the idea of “the bad boy” influences both the recent and current art scene as it gets made into art history. How has the spirit of illegality and rebellious youth shaped our experience of the city today? Gangs, graffiti, gays, drugs and illicit sex are part of the city’s spirit, the vitality of the streets, but also form a big part of the art world today. How has the New Yorker’s love for this spirit shaped recent art history and influenced the young practitioners of its tradition?
- excerpt from Bowery Flash by Kathy Grayson
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