AREA: Art on the Dancefloor

— Curatorial —

AREA: Art on the Dancefloor

Warhol, Basquiat & Co by VOLKER HINZ

The Fotofestiwal Łódź was established in 2001 as one of the first photography
events in Poland. It was a spontaneous initiative of students and lecturers of the Sociology Department. Since then, photography and ways of organizing cultural events have transformed. Fotofestiwal remains a space for presenting various forms and types of
photography, a forum for discussion about art and society, a motivation to search for alternative methods of discussing and exhibiting photography. But first of all, invariably, it is a place where people meet.

The 22nd edition of Fotofestiwal' motto "HOPE" was inspired by the words of American writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, who stated that “hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope". The international Fotofestiwal invited curators and artists to create works especially for the 22nd Fotofestiwal, centred around the most topical social issues, climate change, wars, a growing wave of populism and nationalism, and the fight for the rights of minorities. Artists and their projects represent the modern visual language, within which photography is sometimes just an introduction to action or a summary of complex participatory processes and collaboration.


Nina Venus was invited to bring the 'NYC nightclub' body of work by Volker Hinz to Łódź and curated the immersive exhbition "AREA: ART ON THE DANCEFLOOR", the most comprehensive exhibition of this part of his work to date. It included private snap shots from his archive never seen before, the complete collection of original AREA invitations (now considered artwork in and by itself) and numerous magazine and press clippings.

AREA was the name of a legendary, short-lived but spectacular nightclub in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Though short-lived, 1983-87, it impacted and transcended boundaries between art and life, interlinked music, fashion, performance, and installation, creating a realm for radical creative experimentation and transformed the cultural landscape, inspiring until today. AREA was also a place where everyone mixed and mingled accross the social and cultural spectrum: tparty people and the artists, regular people and high society, movie stars and musicians.

It connected people across the social spectrum. Looking back from today, those AREA years marked a hopeful time, though brutally undercut by the emergence of AIDS in 1981, society seemed less socially and politically divided, more liberal, and experimental than today with reduced women’s rights, racism rising, widening the gap in societies.

Back then, four Highschool friends from California moved to New York City and without much ado and little money, rented an old warehouse and opened AREA. Never primarily intended as a commercial success, always artistically driven and motivated, the only constant factor was permanent change: every six weeks AREA was spectacularly transformed into a new thematic and immersive installation: “Confinement “, “Food”, “Suburbia”, “Fashion”, or “Faith” wasn’t merely a motto, but a complete cosmos.

AREA elevated nightclubbing to an artform, celebrating creativity over commerce. “The criteria for entry were not based on wealth. If there was a limo, it was a bad thing”, remembers Eric Goode, one of the founders, in 2013.

The fantastic images by renowned German photographer Volker Hinz invite contemporary viewers to immerse themselves into the cosmos of AREA, suspended from time and space, and reminding us of the power and hope that Art can carry.

Installation process

AREA: the book

AREA, authors: Eric Goode, Jennifer Goode. Published 2013 by Abrams Books.
Dimensions: 12 x 9.5 x 2 inches. Drawing from an incredibly rich archive of material, most photographs by Volker Hinz, Eric and Jennifer Goode tell the behind-the-scenes story of the club and its people, creating an illustrated memoir of an exciting time and place in the annals of New York nightlife.