Imminently: Passerby gallery + Passerby bar = 0 = off we go to die (whatever afterworld we’ve been preprogrammed for). Not even sure if this will be bittersweet, because somehow or another, facing this curious twist of fate, we’ve decided to decide that perhaps this is really for the better. Not sure why, exactly. Maybe it’s that brilliant regressive belief that the past was indeed the golden age and the present only drags us into the insipid future. The insipid future of New York City, is what we mean for this time around. Here’s our valiant manifest O’!

Halcyon days involved lyricism as an institution, with all sorts of romanticized vagrancy: high culture and tenement culture made merry, got married and watched the next generation follow suit. The bohemian laundry being: that as long as the promise of the city remained all remained pure –in that decidedly indigent yet exultant way. Maybe we learned it through cultural osmosis, as wartime Europe brought Paris and Berlin to Manhattan and then its environs. Because the voice was indeed the streets themselves, the forum that breeds itself, regardless of creeds of knowledge: passions surged because they were sanctioned to do just that. The public city somehow, however privatized, and stratified. And as such, a crucible of living, and a gift to the poetic voice. New York City: the only place where remorseful and remorseless are one: how is that? You can still feel it breathing along the streets when diving through the condo canyons in hopes of finding solace in a pre-fab echo of culture-itself lost. An idea of resuscitation tickles us all, somehow. Dear old decadence; the Downtowner’s dose? Or is it really a more singular creature that we hearken to?

And perhaps the state of the art world can be adduced as a hotheaded analogy for the state of New York City. Nothing’s moribund; energy still abounds. But its timbre is strange. The poet’s voice is crumbling, and the pictures are just that: pictures. We’ve all been bemoaning this for a while. Some of us are doubtful that we should. After all, the breast-beating glories of l’art pour l’art don’t make as much sense now. Or are we just cowed? Where’s that voice that we need, which is the only succor that should feel real? Are we looking in all the wrong places for the poet?

So is it in fact regressive to pay homage to a state of mind that probably won’t be won back, that might be a vestige of a fashionable (let’s even say epistemic) bourgeois Romanticism. Well, who knows exactly. After all, it’s the shit that makes us feel most alive. And before we allow our so-called souls to be strangled by the burgeoning hold of money-hungry parvenus, we best bring out the old trumpet (the Jazz machine, the warhorn, the loudest one in the room) and sound that awesome clarion call, saying: “I want this to feel alive again.”

So, we’re going to blow that tuneless horn from September until Passerby is laid to rest. You can find out what will be going on (scheduled) here on our website: www.newyorkisdead.biz. The dull future needs our noise.

With love,

Gavin Brown’s enterprise
New York City, August 15, 2007

For all inquiries, please contact Darren Bader at binfo@newyorkisdead.biz