Thursday, August 18, 2005

Local Celebrity

Clayton Patterson's Outlaw Museum is right across the street at 161 Essex Street. His covert video documentation of the brutality of the Tompkin's Square Riots of the 80's led to serious reform in police regulations. From his University of Alberta alma mater:The artist and documentarian has, for the last 20 years, been compiling an extensive visual archive of New York City’s Lower East Side. The stocky, pony-tailed and bearded Patterson is an habituĂ© of the mean streets of the Bowery district where his home studio hides behind a heavily graffitied black metal door. Wearing his trademark black baseball cap embroidered with skull symbols, this observer is as much a fixture of the neighborhood as the subjects he chronicles: from building demolitions to drag shows, from children growing up to police busts going down. Patterson comes across as one of those quintessential New York originals—but, ironically, he hails from Alberta, and credits his Western Canadian background for developing his trademark outsider’s, iconoclastic views. His videotapes have been used for legal defence more than any other private photo collection in the history of America

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