David Bowie, the Ramones, Blondie and Speaking Heads all owe a large debt to a different Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame act: the Velvet Underground. And though it’s been 5 many years since these influential artwork rockers became the final downtown NYC hipsters, a new exhibit, “The Velvet Underground Expertise,” is a multimedia time machine that transports you again to their avant-garde world.
Fittingly, the present, which opened earlier this week and runs via Dec. 30, is housed at 718 Broadway in Greenwich Village, not removed from the place the Velvets had a mid-’60s residency at Cafe Weird. With music, images, video and a host of classic memorabilia, “The Velvet Underground Expertise” captures the sound and imaginative and prescient of a band that represented a cultural motion in every part from music to movie to trend.
“To be an artist you might want to be free, a free thinker,” says Christian Fevret, co-curator of the exhibit, which launched in Paris in 2016 earlier than its up to date model arrived in New York. “If you happen to can stroll out of this exhibition with this sense and in addition the thought of combating for creative freedom and freedom of speech, then it will be one other great legacy of the Velvets.”
The multilevel exhibition is split into six sections: First is “Welcome to America,” which leads with a show of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America.” Then it goes into late ’50s and ’60s NYC scenes — during which pictures embody the beginnings of the Twin Towers building and a pre-Muhammad Ali Cassius Clay going to a poetry lecture at the Bitter Finish — shot by the late Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah.
Subsequent, the “Childhood of Artwork, Delivery of the Velvet Underground” part particulars the early days of the band’s co-founders Lou Reed, who died in 2013, and John Cale. There’s a flyer for the Velvets’ first live performance: opening for Myddle Class at Summit Excessive College in Summit, NJ. (Admission was $2.50.)
The “Manufacturing facility Years” part — named after Warhol’s legendary New York studio, the Manufacturing facility, the place the band generally performed — consists of a small however appropriately trendy room devoted to Nico, the singer, mannequin and actress who was featured on their traditional 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico.”
Elsewhere, there’s a classic newspaper and journal assortment (together with the first situation of Rolling Stone), tributes to VU-affiliated filmmakers Jonas Mekas and Barbara Rubin (who launched the band to Warhol, their future producer and supervisor), and a “Legacy” wall displaying the Velvets’ affect on the likes of Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, the Strokes and the White Stripes.
Fevret hopes that “The Velvet Underground Expertise” will revive the spirit of the band some 50 years later. “The younger technology has to hold on,” he says. “I do know that the bloodline remains to be there.”
“The Velvet Underground Expertise,” Tuesday via Sunday at 718 Broadway; VelvetUnderground-Expertise.com. Tickets $25 to $50.