I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s

I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s Review

Brilliantly funny, frank, and shattering, this is the bittersweet memoir by Peter McGough of his life with artist David McDermott. Set in New York's Lower East Side of the 1980s and mid-1990s, it is also a devastatingly candid look at the extreme naivet� and dysfunction that would destroy both their lives.

Escaping the trauma of growing up gay in Syracuse and being bullied at school, McGough attended art school in New York, dropped out, and took jobs in clubs, where he met McDermott. Dazzled by McDermott, whom he found fascinating and worldly, McGough agreed to collaborate with him not only on their art but also in McDermott's very entertaining Victorian lifestyle. McGough evokes the rank and seedy East Village of that time, where he encountered Keith Haring, Rene Ricard, Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Jacqueline and Julian Schnabel, among many others. Nights were spent at the Ninth Circle, Danceteria, and Studio 54; going to openings at the FUN Gallery; or visiting friends in the Chelsea Hotel. By the mid-1980s, McDermott & McGough were hugely successful, showing at three Whitney Biennials, represented by the best galleries here and abroad, and known for their painting, photography and "time experiment" interiors. Then, overnight, it was all gone. And one day in the mid-1990s, McGough would find that he, like so many of his friends, had been diagnosed with AIDS.

I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going is a compelling memoir for our time, told with humor and compassion, about how lives can become completely entwined even in failure and what it costs to reemerge, phoenix-like, and carry on.

Title:I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s
Edition Language:English

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    I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s Reviews

  • Jim Razinha

    I received an electronic uncorrected proof of this for review from the publisher through Edelweiss. The photos in my copy were all gray-scale; I don't know if they will be in color in the published ed...

  • Tosh

    I'm fascinated with Dandies, either from the past or contemporary times. McDermott & McGough are two artists that work as one, and their aesthetic is very much ignoring the 21st century and most of th...

  • V. Briceland

    Peter McGough is half of the partnership of McDermott & McGough, visual artists who rose to fame during the nineteen-eighties and nineties not only for their painting and photography, but for dressing...

  • Deb

    This is an interesting memoir by Peter McGough, an unusual artist, recalling how he left home as a young man and made his way into the New York art world. He and another aspiring artist, David McDermo...

  • Madison

    I love reading books about this time period and group of artists, and this was a really unique narrative. McDermott & McGough’s work is so concerned with time and aesthetic, it was interesting to re...

  • Koen

    Fairy interesting read about two artists i hadn't heard of and did not know anything about. The title caught my eye and i thought i'd give it a go.The book provides us with glimpse in to the lives of ...

  • David

    This was an excellent memoir. Peter McGough brilliantly describes New York City in the 80s and 90s, the intricacies of a career in art, and the turmoils, joys, loves and heartbreak that make up the hu...

  • Leza

    I wouldn’t describe this as “brilliantly funny” (see the blurb) but it’s definitely an entertaining read especially for anyone interested in creative eccentrics, New York and the 80s art scene...

  • Ginger

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Peter McGough's artistic and personal lives were both hot messes. But he brings the chaos and confusion of NYC in the 1980s alive, particularly the city's art scen...

  • Mary

    It's hard to give this book a rating, because it's not really a "literary" book. It's more like a person's diary. I was mildly interested in learning about the lives of these artists in NYC in the 198...