Tucson Nights: After dark in the Naked Pueblo
Tucson John’s photographs of Tucson house parties, musical events, and downtown demimonde from the mid-2000s to the present will be collaged and wallpapered floor-to-ceiling in the Drawing Room, creating an all-over, immersive document of living history. The earlier photos depict unbridled exuberance and wayward nightlife amongst decrepitude and desolation before the current onset of “revitalization.” Pointedly, that spirit and irrepressibility is not limited to events a decade ago, and by including recent work this exhibition traces an arc through to the here-and-now, proof of ongoing vitality that hasn’t been stamped out by normalization. Underground, chaotic merriment lives on, though it might be a bit harder to find and happens away from Congress Street. By straddling the past and present, “Tucson Nights: After dark in the Naked Pueblo” resists sentimental nostalgia while acknowledging a change from an era of liberty and a literal space to create a scene outside the parameters of predetermined development. It also comments on the global and societal shift from untamed, guileless abandon and lack of self-consciousness to the ubiquitous use of camera phones and social media that has fostered universal narcissistic hyper self-awareness.
Tucson John was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and travelled the world doing fashion and event photography before discovering and settling in the Sonoran Desert in 1994, where he continues to photograph and act as cultural impresario and ambassador for Tucson.