From the Extraordinary to the Extreme: Morrison Hotel Gallery Looks Back at the Most Iconic Images of Disco Culture with ‘Disco at 50’

Today, disco culture is the stuff of legend – dazzling mirror balls, high-shine banquettes and raining glitter, unconventional fashion, and extraordinary excess, but those who were fortunate enough to experience the disco era firsthand understand the elements that came together to create an exquisite musical and cultural storm. The lovechild of young baby boomers who felt left out of sixties counterculture and the increasing polarity of New York City nightlife, disco was born on February 14, 1970. On that evening, downtown disc jockey David Mancuso hosted “Love Saves The Day”, the first of many invite-only underground dance parties at his SoHo loft apartment at 645 Broadway – parties that quickly outgrew the space before relocating to a larger venue at 99 Prince Street.

From within the eye of the storm in New York City, disco soon took center stage in mainstream culture with anthems like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”; on the big screen with Saturday Night Fever, and on dance floors with hits such as Van McCoy’s “The Hustle.”

Upon its half-centennial, Disco at 50 presented by Morrison Hotel Gallery brings it all back to the place where it began, retrospecting the cosmopolitan renaissance from invite-only obscurity at Mancuso’s loft to the velvet-roped phenomena that would ensue with the advent of genre goliaths like Studio 54 and Paradise Garage. On public view starting Friday, February 14, 2020, this month-long exhibition featuring photographers Bill Bernstein, Ron Galella, Lynn Goldsmith, Rose Hartman, Catherine McGann, Allan Tannenbaum and Chris von Wangenheim is a love letter to legendary nights and an era when exclusivity was all about inclusivity.

The opening night of the exhibition, February 13th, will be a disco extravaganza featuring DJ Samantha Michelle. The evening will feature specialty cocktails, nonstop dancing, and a celebration of the joie de vivre that made the disco era an extraordinarily magical moment in music history. It’s even been said that a “dress to kill” code will be strictly enforced on night of event.

The beat will go on through March 15th, overlapping the March 13th opening of Studio 54: Night Magic at the Brooklyn Museum. Running through July 5th, the exhibition will go behind the velvet rope and inside the radiant history, social politics, and trailblazing aesthetic of the disco movement. The exhibition will combine photography, fashion, drawing, and film, as well as never-before-exhibited costume illustrations, set proposals, and designs to explore Studio 54’s existence within the wider history of New York City.

About Morrison Hotel® Gallery 

MHG is the world’s leading brand in fine art music photography representing over 125 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives. Their vast catalog of photography encompasses jazz, blues, and rock imagery spanning several generations through to today’s contemporary music artists and now includes iconic photographs in the world of celebrity and sports as well. MHG has a robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert.

Morrison Hotel Gallery
116 Prince Street || New York, NY 10012