The mountain came to Mohammed yesterday when the Hudson ArtsWalk overflowed its banks and poured into Chatham village, two hours upstate. Along with visual arts, this year there is a literary stream to the festivities, co-curated by Chad Weckler (who founded an incipient version last year) and author Dave King (The Ha-Ha). Venues included the Hudson Opera House, Chatham Public Library, and Cadys Hall at 13 Main Street in Chatham, a gorgeous upstairs space donated by the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York (which recently scored New York representation of Kehinde Wiley from recently departed Jeffrey Deitch – thus the brown-wrapped works by Los Angeles painters Los Carpinteros stacked along one wall).
Poet and editor of Fence Magazine and Fence Books Rebecca Wolff read from her first novel, The Beginners; Paul Lafarge read insouciantly from his novel about deconstructivist/reconstructivist architect of Paris Baron Haussmann, holding back “out of superstition” his work in progress about “a little town like this one on the other side of the river.” So it was gratifying when, later in the evening, two more writers read from works in progress. Susan Orlean, author of one of the perfect books of the last century (The Orchid Thief), according to M.C. Dave King, read from the manuscript of her inquiry into the life of Rin Tin Tin – due at her publishers October 15, but for which she had negotiated a slight extension, allowing her to stand in our midst. She is an intellectually precise and detail-oriented, awe-inspiring writer, but Rin Tin Tin, a dog born a hundred years ago, seemed a bit calculated beside Richard Boch, reading from his memoir in progress of the Mudd Club.
Richie was the original door man, and despite his will at the time to both “stand out and fade out,” thirty years has not dimmed his memory. Boch says the Mudd Club was not about money, at least not in the early days, in 1978. One of the founders, Diego Cortez (legendary curator of 1981′s New York, New Wave), called it “an art thing,” in order to convince building owner painter Ross Bleckner to OK the space for their use. ”Changes were coming,” Boch noted, “for Ross more than anyone.” Boch calls this meeting of the downtown art crowd and the incubating punk scene a “living, breathing, 5,000 square foot work of art,” and said that at the time, he realized, “this is the New York that I live here for.” He talked about some of the denizens of the Mudd Club, at 77 White Street, being “like ghosts,” while some were Marianne Faithful, descending from a limo with her entourage and a white-jacketed disk in hand, which she gave to the DJ – and everyone caught their breath, listening for the first time to “Broken English.” Boch thrilled with his description of “an average night at the door, and some breakfast for dinner.”
Still searching for the right title, Richie is 60,000 words into his story – up to 1980, he says – and will be attending the Mudd Club reunion October 28 at The Delancey, on Delancey Street, where many bands, including the Bush Tetras, are set to play. ”I think it will make a nice ending for the book,” he said.