Max Fish, the art-centric Lower East Side bar, was a tangled crowd for the opening of the group photo show, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS. Curated by photographer Brian Boulos, the exhibit features a strong display of female protagonists shot by New York photographers like Richard Kern, Magdalena Wosinska, Alessandro Simonetti, Dan Martensen, and others. The women on the walls are a mix of personal inspirations and celebrity girl crushes, including Agyness Deyn, Sofia Coppola in an X-Large t-shirt, a pregant Jemima Kirke eating ice cream, and an iconic portrait of Blondie.
The Red Stripe open bar was wiped out early but revelers stuck around, including a cloistered Richard Kern, and an animated Ricky Powell working the bar amongst guests like Leo Fitzpatrick and Camille Rowe. Nine of the featured photographers were in attendance and are considered Max Fish regulars. If complaints about a show being "too crowded" is an indication of a successful opening, then Boulos nailed it for his first curated effort.
The Creators Project asked Boulos a few questions about the curation process before the tequila started to pour and he had to address a room full of people.
The Creators Project: How did the show come about?
Brian Boulous: I had been going to Max Fish for many years, and it was always a very special place to me. I got to know the owner over the years and finally asked her if we could make something happen. I wanted to do a cool show that went along with where I was stylistically in my career. I threw in the somewhat fecitious title to make it fun.
Why Max Fish? I've lived in the general area for over a decade, and have seen development and real estate interests change the landscape of the area in that relatively short period. I love that Max Fish holds a certain creative and artistic element that much of the neighborhood has lost, and holds it strong, despite having to move from their original home. I've always felt comfortable there and they've always been respectful and embracing of different communities and artists, and it's a good place to hang. So I thought it would be fun to throw this opening with some good people and have some great photos on the wall from people that I consider talented. I've seen so many shows on those walls and I feel good about doing it finally.
What is the common theme that each portrait contains?
The common theme in each photo is, of course, that the subject of the photo is a woman. They all capture the reflection of the photographer's direction or vision in that moment, with that woman. They all have a connection with the photographer whether it's a deep gaze or a directed movement or action. It's difficult for me to write this without sounding cliché, sorry. I'm doing my best.
Event image by Allen Ying
How did you pick the photographers? I chose the photographers for different reasons. A bunch of them were people that I already knew frequented Max Fish, and I wanted that communal element. I really wanted people that understood their craft and were seasoned, generally considered professionals who were known in some way or another and I wanted their aesthetic to be generally focused on shooting women so that I knew their submissions would be strong for the theme. I wanted them to be diverse in style, but being that I generally shoot fashion, my eye lended a bit toward those photographers.
How did the show come about?
This guy Brian Aris, I simply loved his photo of Debbie Harry in the yellow jacket... I think I just googled "Debbie Harry photos" and it seemed very classic East Village rock and roll to me, and I reached out and he couldn't have been any nicer.