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NYPL Acquires Eye Archive

Years-Long Search Yields Perfect Result

After numerous discussions and negotiations with the world's leading research institutions, we are thrilled to announce that the East Village Eye archive, consisting of documents, manuscripts, artworks, videos, ephemera and a complete run of the original printed publication, has been acquired by the New York Public Library.

As Eye Editor/Publisher Leonard Abrams writes in an official statement:

“NYPL's acquisition of the East Village Eye archive is the perfect outcome of our years-long search for the best home for these materials. I can't think of another institution with the breadth and depth of interest, the institutional strength and the dedication to the common good that compares to the New York Public Library – not to mention where it lives. New York deserves to keep this essential trove of materials. It covers a time when it wasn't always easy to love New York City, but we always knew how important it was to bring these voices to the public and to preserve them, even if it meant dragging them from one storage space to another for some 35 years.”

“The placing of these materials is in itself the completion of the project of the East Village Eye. You never know at the time what will be most sought-after later, but the fact that scholars are already chasing down whatever they can find from many of our contributors indicates how important it was to keep this body of work together and well looked-after. And so it is with a real sense of relief that I relinquish this collection into the capable hands of the New York Public Library.”

Online Archive Released to Public

This announcement coincides with the release of the online archive to the public. Originally scheduled for release several years ago, online accessibility was postponed so as not to cause a conflict with the eventual acquirer. Fortunately for all concerned, the NYPL has graciously concurred that the value to the public of online access necessitates the general release of these indispensable materials. As for the rest, scholars will soon be able to handle the original issues and all the related materials that make up the archive by visiting the main research facility at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City, where the archive now resides – right under the stone lions.

But wait – there's more!

East Village Eye Salutes NYPL With Archive Party

Of course, we can't mark these historic events without a slammin' party. To wit:

On Thursday, March 23rd, 2023, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black will do a very special performance for the East Village Eye at the illustrious Bowery Electric at 327 Bowery in New York City, featuring Cornelius Loy on Theramin and the Girls of Karen Black, doing new numbers and greatest hits for this one evening only.

The band will be preceded by a spoken word presentation featuring Bob Holman, Kathe Burkhart, Ira Abramowitz, Nathan Ross and special guests. Reserve early – space is limited – and be a part of history!

David Wojnarowicz in the East Village Eye

Wojnarowicz art
David Wojnarowicz, "I Use Maps Because I Don't Know How to Paint," 1984

David Wojnarowicz was one of the most important voices of his generation. Now known equally for his art and his writings, Wojnarowicz illuminated the terrors and struggles of the outsider—eventually exposing the universal terror of our existential reality. Going further, he deconstructed this paralyzing state, thus disarming these same demons and revealing the ultimate truth that storytellers such as himself—abused as a child and attacked in modern America as a homosexual man—can emerge with the power to unmask the mechanisms of alienation and oppression that have become part of everyday life.

East Village Eye was one the first publications to cover the progress of this extraordinary artist, and we are honored that he chose the Eye to write a column in which he addressed some of his major themes, as well as the lives and work of fellow artists and others who lived near his home in the Lower East Side of New York City.

Read articles by and about David Wojnarowicz here.

MOVE Militants Back in the News with

EV EYE June 1986

MOVE militant Debbie Sims Africa was recently released after serving 40 years for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman. See a video here for a report from The Real Newsthat references a cover story in the East Village Eye back in June of 1986. For the full story of the bombing of the MOVE compound in Philadelphia that wrought major destruction upon the neighborhood that housed the group's HQ, read the Eye's June 1986 issue.

The Ten Most Musical Eyes

John Lydon by Fran Vogel

Just in time for summer reading, The Eye Archive is proud to present the Ten Most Musical Eyes, featuring some of our favorite idols, inconoclasts and idiosyncratic troubadours who changed the ears of a generation. Join us as we get into their heads and reveal what they had in mind when they revolutionized the soundtrack of our lives.

EV EYE Show - Special Edition 2016

"It's All True": The East Village Eye Show at Howl!, Sept 16, 2016

The mega-show we've been waiting for will open at Howl! Happening at 6 East 1st Street in New York City on September 16th, 2016.

"It's All True": The East Village Eye Show will feature covers, centerfolds, interior pages, ephemera and photographic prints drawn from the extensive East Village Eye Archive, as well as key art pieces from the era, and will be augmented with readings, performances, film screenings and a panel discussion. In addition, we're printing a Special Edition of the East Village Eye that will include the show catalog.

Download Official Press Release Here

James Chance & The Contortions to Play
Opening Night Party at The Delancey

The one and only James Chance

James Chance, the legendary No Wave Punk/Funk pioneer who graced both the first and last covers of the East Village Eye, will bring his Contortions to The Delancey, a leading Lower East Side club, for a full one-hour set on Friday, September 16 at midnight, following the show's opening at Howl! Happening from 6-8 pm. James, who promises to "blow down the doors," will be playing fave classics plus previewing songs from his upcoming album, "The Flesh Is Weak."

Lenny Kay Joins Party

Lenny Kaye

We are pleased to announce that Lenny Kaye, the acclaimed singer, songwriter and guitarist who first gave music to the poems of Patti Smith and is an accomplished artist in his own right, will be performing at the East Village Eye party.

Whole lotta Sic F*cks

Also featured onstage are the Sic F*cks, dyed-in-the-wool punk rockers from back in the day who are still tearin' it up. As always, the Sic F*cks include the lovely and talented Tish & Snooky Bellomo of Manic Panic. Your host for the evening: comedienne extraordinaire Tessie Chua, who will be flying in from San Francisco for just for the occasion. And special guests, so watch this space!

Tessie with Tish & Snooky
Mother Superior Tessie stands between naughty novices Tish & Snooky

The Delancey is at 168 Delancey Street in Manhattan, right at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. Mere steps from the Essex Street subway stop (J/M/Z/F), or a 10-minute walk from Howl! Happening.

East Village Eye - Special Edition Out Now

EVE #73

East Village Eye - Special Edition, which covers everything in the Show and so much more, is hitting the street as we speak. The tabloid-sized magazine includes not only historical perspectives but brand-new articles on the people and events that are impacting our world today, plus music, commentary, fashion and more. Plus, it includes the entire catalog of the East Village Eye Show, with essays and articles by Leonard Abrams, Sylvia Falcon, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Anthony Haden-Guest and Walter Robinson.

"The King Tut's Tomb of Downtown New York"

"It's All True": The East Village Eye Show draws from the nearly 4,000 pages, 3,000 photographs, sets of original copies and attendant materials that constitute the East Village Eye Archive. The quality and magnitude of this trove of cultural riches causes us to call it "The King Tut's Tomb of Downtown New York."

In-Depth Article on East Village Eye by Hyperallergic

April 1984 East Village Eye centerfold by Michael Roman

Hyperallergic, the highly followed and amazingly thorough website magazine about "art and its discontents," just published athoughtful and solid piece about the Eye on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014. Author Tiernan Morgan charts the magazine's in-the-trenches coverage of the East Village art scene while not forgetting its precedents, influences and important concurrent movements.

He throws in a little biographical info on editor/publisher Leonard Abrams as well, along with insightful quotes by first art director Christof Kohlhofer and art writer and scholar Yazmin Ramirez. Read all about it!

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6-8 pm

Printed Matter Store, 195 Tenth Avenue [22nd St.], NYC


On Thursday, Sept. 18th, 2014, The East Village Eye Archive, in conjunction with Printed Matter, Inc., presented the First "Officially Sanctioned" Back Issue Selloff, in which selected copies of the Eye were put on sale to the public…as well as the fabulous t-shirt designs sporting historical East Village Eye covers that you can also see at our store.

To mark this big selloff event, we presented a mini-symposium entitled “How Hip Hop Came Downtown,” covering the process in which members of New York’s media and fine art communities brought rap music, graffiti art and breakdancing from the inner-city ghettos to a wider audience that has since spread across the world. Leading this discussion were Eye publisher/editor Leonard Abrams, musician and multimedia artist Michael Holman, scholar Yazmin Ramirez, and the celebrated artist and media figure Fab 5 Freddy. Guest appearances were made by author/journalist and Eye alumn Steven Hager, artist John Ahearn and photographer Lisa Kahane, all of whom added invaluable insights into the dynamics at play during this fertile time. Watch for video footage of the event coming here soon.


Fab 5 Freddy

Born Fred Brathwaite in NYC’s “Do or Die Bed Stuy,” Fab 5 Freddy has been making history and changing our world with groundbreaking contributions in music, film, art and cultural ambassadorship from the early 1980s to the present day. Fab took part in the tremendously influential Times Square Show in 1980, out of which he began his collaboration with Charlie Ahearn in the first film about hip hop, "Wild Style." A leading artist in the graffiti/aerosol/street art movement, Fab still found time to direct music videos and contribute to choice musical cuts like “Rapture,” “Change The Beat” and numerous other pop music hits. Today, as he continues to paint and exhibit, he also curates art shows, writes articles and hosts events showcasing key developments in the African Diaspora experience as it impacts the world.

Michael Holman

Michael Holman, the first writer to officially use the term hip hop in on the printed page (East Village Eye, January, 1982), has had a crucial hand in the popularization of culture that sprang from some of New York’s most underserved communities, from which he organized revolutionary breakdancers into The Rock Steady Crew and The New York City Breakers. He also created the first nationally syndicated hip hop television show, Graffiti Rock and promoted numerous other forms of nascent hip hop expression. Holman, who was a founding member of the band Grey along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, later wrote the screenplay to the film Basquiat, recounting the seminal artist’s life and tragic end. Today, Holman teaches Mass Media at CCNY and continues to be active as an artist, writer and lecturer in the field of contemporary urban culture, film, theater and art.

Yasmin Ramirez

Yasmin Ramirez, Ph.D. is an art historian and independent curator. Growing up during the heyday of the Alternative Art Space Movement in New York, Yasmin Ramirez has worked at Taller Boricua, El Museo Del Barrio, The Studio Museum, The New Museum, Art in General, the Alternative Museum, Franklin Furnace and the East Village Eye. While at the Eye, she was instrumental in exposing the talents of young graffiti art pioneers to the recognized art world and beyond. She is currently writing a book based on her dissertation: Nuyorican Vanguards: The Puerto Rican Art Movement in New York.

East Village Eye Holds Website
And T-Shirt Launch Party

Rene Ricard Gives His Last Reading

The first [but not the last] party for the new website of the East Village Eye
was a fun-filled event at the Lower East Side's Tammany Hall on December 9th. 2013.

Unbeknownst to perhaps all in attendance, this was to be the last public performance of Rene Ricard's life.
The celebrated poet, critic, actor and artist fell to a cancer, said to only very recently have been discovered, less than two months after the event. Rene chose to read the piece, reproduced below, that he had contributed to the Eye back in October of 1985. We miss you, Rene.


On a lighter note, we recall a star-studded evening hosted by Joey Arias & his Band that featured the fabulous chanteuses Phoebe Legere and Brenda Bergman, plus spoken word by our dear departed Rene, along with Bob Holman, Max Blagg and Susana Sedgwick.

DJing was provided by Greg Poole, Brant Lee, Alix Brignol [DJ Wazu] and Sister from Another Planet, all of which was preceded by a special screening of the legendary hip hop film "Wild Style" by Charlie Ahearn.

T-shirt fashion show director Evelyn von Gizycki (in fur hat) with models and host Joey Arias (in bangs)

From EV Grieve: