At the birthplace of New York’s hardcore scene rests Temporary Accommodation – a photography exhibit of uncompromising portraits cataloguing the artists’ relationship to this city and themselves.

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Niagara Bar sits on the corner of Avenue A and 7th Street, right in the heart of the East Village. Formerly known as club A7, this space has become legendary as the birthplace of New York’s hardcore scene. In the back room of Niagara, a plaque honors A7’s historical significance, but on last Tuesday night, dozens of photographs mirrored the rectangular memorial, creating a shrine of sorts to NYC’s underground youth culture. Curated by Antonia Marsh, Temporary Accommodation took over Niagara’s back room for one night, featuring portraiture of 10 NYC photographers of varying backgrounds. Ranging from professional photographers to hobbyists, each artist wholeheartedly explored how image making initiates a process of understanding oneself and their environment.

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 Chad Moore

While Antonia Marsh’s resume involves curating mostly formal gallery and museum shows, hosting an exhibit in an East Village bar was not divergent from her taste nor mission. With a body of work as eclectic as Temporary Accommodation, a traditional white-cube gallery space would do little more than sterilize the raw and unfiltered portraits. “Temporary accommodation” suggests that the subjects cannot find a permanent residence, and that they are merely accommodated and tolerated rather than welcomely hosted by their environment. While each portrait depicts a very real and immediate experience of youth culture in the city, the images also capture the friction that follows any attempt to establish an identity within one’s environment.

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Raquel Navé

In a space still ripe with its punk past, Niagara Bar provides the perfect shelter for the ten artists. Tuesday’s bill included a range of musicians, models, writers, and other creatives displaying their snapped portraits. Composed of Kelsey Bennett, Chad Moore, Raquel Navé, Pete Voelker, Ali Michael, Miyako, Bellizzi, Marcel Castenmiller, Matthew Hitt, Josh Hubbard, Danielle Reuther, Temporary Accommodation was certainly a cohesive collection of New York’s most promising photographers, despite the casual approach some of the artists have to the medium. The vision of all the artists created an overarching narrative of the turmoil and exuberance synonymous with being young in New York City.

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Ali Michael

Next Tuesday (July 1st), Antonia Marsh will curate the final temporary exhibit in Niagara’s back room. This time it will be a solo show featuring illustrations by Jack Ridley III (lead guitarist for Drowners). Having never before exhibited his drawings, Ridley’s debut will be anything but amateur as he plans to cover the space with black plastic and draw all over the walls with black light paint, creating a cartoonish haunted house of sorts. Due to the need for darkness, this show will not begin until 11pm and will run until 4am.

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Some of the artists and the curator posing together at the show. 

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