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#QueenOfTheNight: Dianne Brill Goes “To the Future Through the Past” with a Photo Retrospective

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Andy Warhol, at AREA, NYC, 1985, Photo, Roxanne Lowitt

Dianne Brill with Keith Haring in a Stefano jacket, as Rudolf looks on at MoMA’s reopening, May 1984, Polaroid, Trey Speegle

Dianne Brill really WAS the Queen of the Night in NYC in the 80s, but no one ever resented that title, because she was nice. Not just gorgeous, funny, glamorous and fun, but a really nice person. Being an aloof bitch was NOT her schtick.

And so, she was photographed by everyone. Robert Mapplethorpe, Steven Klein, Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Michel Comte, Bill King and ME.

We were not besties at the time, but we ran into each other two years ago at the other Queen of the Night, Susanne Bartsch‘s clothing retrospective at FIT and reconnected. We are Facebook pals and have hundreds of friends in common, which is no big surprise. She literally knows EVERYONE.

While she was organizing this exhibit, I told her I had a a fab pic I took of her and Keith Haring at the reopening of MoMA in 1984. It’s a pretty great shot, if I do say so myself. There’s another pic of Dianne & Keith watching my Polaroid image emerge but sadly, I couldn’t locate it in time for the exhibit. (It’ll turn up, Dianne, I promise!)

Her new exhibition, To the Future Through the Past, is now on view at PHOTO 18 in Zurich, through January 16, 2018 and features hundreds of images.

And La Brill shares her secrets here of how YOU can spin your social life into opportunities and more importantly, fun!

I lived in Wisconsin, then Florida, and moved to London. I had some visa problems and wound up back in America. I was freaking out about what was going to happen and there I was in New York. The first six months were tough and then I started going out after that point. At that time, people were going out, smoking a cigarette, chilling out, posing against the wall and being unavailable. People were sick of that. Along came this girl (who was me) and I was thrilled about every person I met. If you have a natural curiosity about yourself and about others, that comes across.

I went into the club. I dressed up, I always made an effort to look a certain way, but my eyes were open wide because I was curious and excited about everyone I was meeting: artists, writers, musicians – all creative people. Some of them became famous. Some of them didn’t, but they were all fabulous. Our rents were $300 a month so we could do whatever we wanted. I had found my tribe.

Don’t get too drunk. I never got drunk or did drugs so I can remember everything (Laughs). I didn’t make too many mistakes because I wasn’t sloppy. You have to be able to handle yourself when you’re in a crowd. You have to be able to control yourself.

All those years with Andy and I never got him to sign anything. He would bring a pile of Interview magazines to the club, sign them, and give them out to everybody – then we would go on with our evening. I could have easily said, ‘Give me one,’ but something inside of me said ‘No.’ I didn’t want to take advantage of him. I never got one piece of anything and he would have done it for me but something said, ‘Don’t.’ I didn’t want to be one of those people.”

Knowing when to leave a party is very important. If you leave at the peak of the party, if you do this a lot, it starts to look like as soon as you leave, the party goes down and when you’re there, the party is up.”

Naomi Campbell, NYC, 1991, Personal photo, Dianne Brill

John Badum, Miami on NYE, 1992. Personal photo, Dianne Brill

Pony girl, The Roxy, NYC, 1988

Jerry Hall backstage at Mugler, Paris, 1995. Personal photo, Dianne Brill

MAOPR ad, 2002

Space Bride on The Mugler runway, 1990. Photo, Marc Baptiste

Jerry Hall & Marie Helvin in Bain Douche, Paris, 1995. Personal photo, Dianne Brill

John Waters, NYFW, 1993

Grace Jones, Paris, 1989. Personal photo, Dianne Brill

Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat at an Outlaw party in NYC 1986 in an abandoned subway station. “It was totally illegal and so fun. The party lasted 20 minutes before it was closed down.”

(via Dazed)


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