Steven Assael: Classic Portraits of a Scene

Remember when people in the New York goth scene dressed like this? No? Okay, me neither. I missed out on the glory days of the New York Scene as well, and I have these paintings by Steven Assael to rub it in. I don’t know if it was truly as magical and mysterious as his paintings make it seem, but I do know that the people in them are real; here’s a picture of goth club legend Johanna Constantine, looking every inch as amazing in real life as in the painting above.The painting above is part of a sculpture called At Mother (Mother was an actual club in New York), which has the people above standing like guardians at a set of double doors. The doors of the sculpture (which can be seen after the jump) open to reveal the painting below:

To me, this sculpture is really about a changing-of-the-guard in the club scene. Assael depicts a group of people who really set the tone, only to be replaced by a younger group that was inspired by the same aesthetic, taking it to a different level that was more relevant to them. To the younger group, the older generation seems totally iconic, larger than life, and that’s how the sculpture makes it feel as well. Everyone in the club scene has somebody that inspired them in their youth with their style, their presence and their ideas, and I think this sculpture talks about that kind of inspiration, and about coming into your own after receiving it. If I’m not mistaken, that may be Johanna in the second picture as well, having relinquished her crazy get-up and watching over the the cyber kids.

The people in the second picture are also of a past club generation now, a cyber style that has seen its day and is now becoming replaced with something else. Something better? Something worse? That argument will exist any time the changing-of-the-guard takes place. So let’s just say… something different.

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