Patrick McMullan is an American photographer, columnist, television personality, publisher, art collector, philanthropist, businessman and documentarian. A New Yorker his whole life, born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and raised in Huntington, Long Island. Educated in New York University, McMullan majored in business marketing and "minored in Studio 54" as he jokingly says.
Klub Kids: Outlaws of A NYC Subculture (A Capsule Collection)
The Berlin Wall came down and the illegitimate children of Andy Warhol’s superstars were dressing up to party like it was the return of disco. A seductive flash of neon on New York’s cultural past, scarcely revealed, ending abruptly, and influencing the coming years; Klub Kids features unseen photographs of New York’s fabled characters and night crawlers in never-before-seen historic imagery.
A consummate chronicler, Patrick McMullan began his career in the late 1970’s shooting the downtown sphere with nothing more than a pocket camera and the encouragement of Annie Flanders, Susanne Bartsch and Andy Warhol. With the Klub Kids series of photographs, NYC’s black-and-white nightlife era suddenly turned color, both saturated and bright; McMullan – by then a father – gives us his 1988-1992 observational foray into the Oz Land that was this outlaw club scene subculture.
“Every day was Halloween for club kids,” recounts McMullan. “But the club-kid movement was not so much about drag as costume. In reaction to AIDS, they weren’t trying to score as much as score fame. It was about being memorable while the complicated costumes acted as a sort of shield.”
Shot in notorious nightspots like Limelight, Palladium, Webster Hall, Club USA, Tunnel, Roxy, and pop-up parties anywhere surrounding club king Michael Alig’s infamous Disco 2000 parties, it brings us into the outrageously uninhibited attitude of this wildly colorful period. Klub Kids celebrates the freedom of expression in a hedonistic culture that had nothing to lose (but life itself) and stardom to gain, if even for just one night, all through dressing up as an unforgettable character.
Filled with highlights and lowlights, its influence still exists today; paying the debt with a more connected reality that transcends pagers and what we now call the ‘new normal’. Through McMullan’s photos we have glimpse back to simpler times dressed in its own complications.