Downtown New York


Willoughby Sharp's Downtown New York is a 60-minute TV special that, according to the artist, "brings culture to culture". It was co-produced by his partner Susan Britton and together they spend hours putting together the "hottest" downtown events in New York. These documentaries were taken from "art galleries, the latenight clubs, the fashion houses, artist's studios and the streets". It is also a combination of the series "The Willoughby Sharp Show" and the sequel "Clips". The cast consisted of the artists interviewed who were expressing their cultural ability while trying to make a statement. They include Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Rebecca Howland, Kipper Kids, Michael Smith, Andy Warhol, Bodi and Spada (Britton, 1986).

When I think of Pop Art, I think of art that is popular to the mass. It is a culture that is embraced by those who feel the need for a change and wants to flow with the "movement". Pop Art is best described as a visual artistic movement characterized by themes and techniques and a reaction to the then dominant ideas of abstract expression. It started in England and made its way to the United States in the 1950s. It was one of the major art movement of the Twentieth Century (Wikipedia, 2006).

About thirty years after, Willoughby Sharp put together a nostalgic television program that show cased the lively and entertaining artistic movement of the 80s. The rebellious natures of the artist were evident as they express what they thought as material realities of everyday life. The most well known Pop artist was Andy Warhol who "recreated quasi-photographic paintings of people or everyday objects.

This TV production was full of fun and fascinating individuals. They had visions and believed in their Art and were not afraid to express themselves. The displays were amazing as the Artists portray what they thought was a fashion statement. Andre Walker suggested that contribution should only be made into Art when it is different and wearable. The travel back in time was enjoyable because I remembered wearing some of those jewelries and hairstyles. I can still visualize my older sisters all dressed up to go to a party looking all funky. Some of those fashion statement expressed in the videos were what they wore. The platform shoes and colorful legging with high hairstyles were popular in the 80s.

This whole film just blew my mind as I rocked to the music and became mesmerized by the different Art forms and Styles showcased in the production. It really did open up my appreciation for Art. I am able to look at it in a broader prospective. We all see things differently and our interpretation is different from the Artist. However, if we are able to analyze and look for the elements that made up these arts we would be able to understand the statement they are making. It was easier to understand the Artists World because Mr. Sharp videotaped them in their work place.



Willoughby Sharp