BYE BYE CBGB is a final goodbye to one of the last relics of New York punk rock and 1970s/1980s underground culture. CBGBs is a place that continues to thrive on in the collective unconscious; a historic landmark that belongs just as much to teenagers buying their first Ramones album as it does to those who attended the first Ramones gigs in 1974. It was in this dingy little rock den on Bowery and Bleecker that the seeds of punk rock germinated before transforming worldwide counterculture forever. Forget the Sex Pistols or The Clash—it was home-spun heroes like Patti Smith, Television, and The Ramones who were at the forefront what we now understand as punk. Dirty, rebellious, crass, unpracticed, and irreverent, this new breed of rock ‘n roll hellcats who performed nightly at CBGBs redefined what it means to be a voice of a generation. During its thirty-three years in existence, CBGBs dictated and detected new currents and strains of rock ‘n roll like no one place has since.
On October 14th, 2006 people came from all other the world to say “Bye Bye” to CBGBs before the club shut its doors for good. Indoors, there were 48-hours of star-studded performances, but it was the emotionally-charged going-ons right outside the club’s doors that captivated multimedia artist Bruno Hadjadj. Using sketches, photography, and videos, he immortalized the anonymous throngs who queued up outside to pay their final respects. For two days people dedicated poems, artworks, mementos, and performances to the legacy of the greatest rock club of all time. Hadjadj’s resultant body of work not only tells the tale of an era coming to an end, but also pays testament to the incredible endurance of CBGBs influence.
“Bye Bye CBGB” is comprised of black and white prints and silver prints mounted on light boxes with the flickering electric lights animating the figures. The accompanying sketches are rendered with a mix of ink and pencils.
Bruno Hadjadj was born in Paris and studied at art schools in both Paris and London. In the 1980s he was a participant in the street art movement and was featured in numerous group shows and auctions for emerging artists. At the end of the 1980s, Hadjadj moved to New York where he established himself in the city’s underground art scene and collaborated on music, movies, and art. As a production designer he has worked on more than 200 commercials, music videos, and feature films including spots for Canal + and Les Nubians and The Roots. In 2001 he directed and produced his first feature film “Bandidos,” and in 2009 he created the Cutlog, a French art fair dedicated to emerging and avant-garde art.