TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT May 2009

THE BLACK AND WHITE SHOW

OUTSIDE, EAST SECOND STREET between Avenues B and C in 1983 was Manhattan’s biggest open-air drug supermarket. It was always deathly quiet except for the continual cries of vendors hawking competing brands of heroin: “3-5-7, 3-5-7” and “Toilet, Toilet.” From the steps of Kenkeleba, looking across at the shooting galleries, you saw unreflecting windows and bricked-up facades, like doorless entrances to Hades. How did the junkies get inside? There was almost no traffic. Behind the two columns flanking Kenkeleba’s doorway unexpectedly was a former Polish wedding palace in elegant decay owned by a black bohemian couple, Corrine Jennings and Joe Overstreet.

The gallery, invisible from the street, had five rooms—one, a cavern—plus a corridor, and dared you to use the whole of it. It was perfect for an impossibly ambitious Mlle Bourgeoise Noire event, thirty artists, half white, half black, with

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.