On the occasion of Martin Beck’s exhibition “Last Night” in NO.5, we have invited the author Tim Lawrence to a conversation with the artist. It will deal with dance culture in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, a phenomenon that occupies them both, but which they approach to in different ways.
While Beck’s exhibition features an over 13-hour film that shows all the records played by David Mancuso (1944 – 2016) on the last night of the Prince Street iteration of the seminal Loft dance party in New York in 1984, Lawrence’s books can be considered an analytic chronicle for the environment in which the exhibition’s reference point is based. The book Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music, 1970-79 (2004) has succeeded in becoming a benchmark for American dance culture and music in the 1970s, while his more recent book Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83 (2016) picks up the thread and describes the creative revolution that followed discos wake in New York at the start of the 1980s. Lawrence has also written the most thorough biography of Arthur Russell, the influential musician, composer and contributor to 1970s and 80s New York downtown culture, Hold On Two Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92 (2009).
Tim Lawrence was born in London in 1967. He works at the University of East London, where he is a founding member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. He is also co-founder of the Lucky Cloud Sound System, which since 2003 has organized “Loft-style parties” in London.