ARTS & CULTURE
07/11/2013 09:12 am ET

Club Culture Becomes Art At Friedman Benda's Nightlife-Centric Group Show (NSFW PHOTOS)

Friedman Benda

An upcoming group show, on view at Friedman Benda Gallery, takes its title from a Nietzsche quote: "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." (We didn't know Friedrich was such a night owl.) The exhibition, curated by Thorsten Albertz, explores the rituals of party animals and their senseless bacchanalian nights, filled with disco balls and drenched in sweat.

The collections spans from the 1970s to present day, exploring how the club scene serves as a setting, a catalyst and an inspiration for art-making. Nan Goldin's 1970s snapshots provide voyeuristic glimpses into party-goers mid-transformation, somewhere between their day-dwelling and nocturnal selves. The photos come together like a photo album of strangers, connected only by a serious passion for frivolity.

club culture

Ena Swansea [American, b. 1966], "It was late but they were not tired at all," 2013, Mixed media on canvas, 90 x 108 inches, 228.6 x 274.3 cm, signed, titled and dated on verso.

Natalie Frank's lush and grotesque paintings take a less literal approach to portraying club culture, veering from nightlife to the nocturnal. In Frank's surrealist underbelly rituals and fantasies become actualized as bodies, and masks become tangled beyond recognition. The uncanny collision of real life and hallucination mirrors the wee hours of night when dreams encroach on waking life.

Each artist takes a different approach to the theme of nightlife, exploring media from painting to photography to performance. Wolfgang Tillmans' NSFW piece, "Spitting On Dick," exposes unabashed exhibitionism while Rosson Crow's shocking pink architecture gives a trippy birds' eye view that leaves the room spinning. Other artists include Nicolas Provost, David LaChapelle, Andreas Gursky and Florian Sussmayr. If you are looking to party and inject yourself with some culture at the same time, this raucous show seems to be the perfect cocktail.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music" runs from July 16 to August 17, 2013 at Friedman Benda in New York. The opening promises to cater to the nightlife theme with a DJ and surprise performance. See a preview in the slideshow below and let us know if you're inspired to hit the clubs.

And those who were seen dancing... (NSFW)

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