PLOT: With all of the hype and drama that goes into the New York art world, it's easy to forget that much of the creative energy in the city actually comes from lessor or unknown artists making art on the community level. This is why we loved seeing this article on Clayton Patterson.
Patterson, a photographer and filmmaker, has spent much of the past 25 years obsessively documenting the artists, drag queens, heroin addicts, rabbis, dealers, and new immigrants of the Lower East Side. Originally from Canada, Patterson and his wife came to the Lower East Side in 1978, after fleeing the "too suburban" Brooklyn (one can only imagine what he thinks of it now). Once there, Patterson opened the Clayton Gallery in 1986, where he has shown everything from work by a Hasidic Jew to work by the leader of the Satan Sinners Nomad gang. He even started a "Wall of Fame," where he would take pictures of local kids from the tenements or the nearby projects who came by the gallery, and then display them in the gallery's front window.During this same time, Patterson was also busy documenting the rest of the motley community around him, as well as participating in the activist politics around him by filming police interventions in the area. This political documentation eventually led to 13 arrests, he claims, "just for taking pictures."There is a ton of other interesting stuff in the article, but we have to say the ending hit home in a particularly depressing way:"History" is the key word, he said. "For over a hundred years, the Lower East Side was a magic crucible where people were inspired to great art and ideas. The Lower East Side probably changed the history of America five hundred times."
In just the last decade, he believes, he has seen the end of that era, as soaring real estate prices have largely emptied the area of its artists, bohemians, radicals and immigrants. The third annual Howl! Festival of East Village Arts, now through Sunday, seems to him as much a nostalgia trip as a celebration of current artistic and intellectual life."What we have here now is bars and college students vomiting on the streets," Mr. Patterson sighs. "Nothing will rise out of it. It's all vacuous and lacking substance. When I go out my door now, I don't see anyone I know. I see the loss of a community."Some of Patterson's photographs can be seen in "Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side," a collection of interviews and essays documenting the neighborhood's role in the history of film and video. He is also working on a book about the political history of the area.
ABOUT HAROLD CHANNER: Television Producer & Conversationalist: Approximately 2,700 in depth Conversations have been videotaped and aired in the "Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer" public access cable television series which was initiated in 1973. Responsibilities have included all aspects of administration, including: Preliminary research to identify potential guest(s) — Contact and invite potential guest(s) to participate — Intensive research after invitation has been accepted — In studio or location videotaping of conversation — Post production editing and graphics enhancement of program — Negotiate and assure televising of conversations programs — Maintain appropriate continuing correspondence with guest(s). Guests have included a wide variety of leading figures from the business, governmental, academic and intellectual communities. | FORMER ACTIVITY: UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY, New York State University, New Paltz, New York 1968-71, California State University, Long Beach, California 1967-68, Utah State University, Logan Utah, 1966-67, Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan, 1965-66, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois 1963-64 | EDUCATION: Ph.D. (ABD) degree. Political and Economic Geography - Indiana University. Bloomington Indiana 1963, Master of Arts degree. Physical and Historical Geography - Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan - 1961, Bachelor of Arts degree. History and Geography, Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan 1959.
ABOUT CLAYTON PATTERSON: Born October 9, 1948, in Calgary, Canada. Studies of art and design at various universities. Since moving to New York City in 1979, his work has focused almost exclusively on documenting the art, life and times of the Lower East Side [LES] in Manhattan. Fights against the injustice of state-authorities. In 1994 he organized the first NO!art show in his gallery after 20 NO!years. Took part in the NO!art-box multiple at Edition Hundertmark 1996, and in the NO!art-show at Janos Gat Gallery in New York in 1998. Works as Documentary-, Libertarian-, and Tattoo-artist in New York together with his wife Elsa Rensaa and various social groups. Owns and runs the most voluminous and important NO!art video-archive. Lives in New York and leads the NO!art headquarters west. ►more