Savouring the Last Dance: Glitterbox’s Bill Bernstein exhibition celebrates one of nightlife’s greatest eras
DIABOLICAL partnered with Defected Records and legendary party-starters Glitterbox to pay tribute to New York’s disco heyday, bringing the labels’ Bill Bernstein photography exhibition to the streets of London.
Nightlife spaces can be shrouded in mystery, protected in order to keep the communities that inhabit them both safe and close. Often founded by those with marginalised identities, they’ve long provided a place for self-expression to be nurtured in full spirit – making them cultural hotspots and touchpoints. And, unfortunately, these spaces don’t tend to last forever – which makes their documentation all the more special and vital.
Taking over in the late 1970s and through into the 1980s, New York City’s disco and dance subcultures gave life to now-legendary spaces like the Paradise Garage and Studio 54, which became home to some of pop culture’s most famous faces. In hindsight, those eras were launch points for today’s dance, club and art culture – so have been rightfully revered and storied ever since.
As now-veterans and contemporary leaders of that scene, Simon Dunmore’s Defected Records and its Glitterbox imprint wanted to pay tribute to that foundational time in NYC. Collaborating with photographer Bill Bernstein, who was a central figure in capturing the energy of those nightclubs, Glitterbox and Defected pulled together the exhibition Last Dance. Showcasing a selection of images curated by David Hill Gallery in London, including exclusive pieces never before exhibited, it took up residency at Defected HQ’s newly launched exhibition space.