When we caught wind that the W Times Square Hotel was hosting an exhibition of never-before-seen photos of Madonna from the early 80s, we knew this was going to be major. Or as designer Rachel Zoe would put it: This was going to be maj. Maj Madge.
A series of 20 images captured by photogs Richard Corman and George DuBose, Madonna: A Transformational Exhibition, captures the pop artist's iconic street style amid the grittiness of Lower East Side New York. At the kickoff party last week, artist Alec Monopoly live-tagged (i.e. graffitied) some choice photos of the Material Girl, which we're guessing may have been an aesthetic nod to Basquiat, whom the pop princess briefly dated in the mid 80s.
So what was it like coming face to face with The Early Madonna—pre-Blond Ambition'd, pre-Vogue'd, and pre-Kabbalah'd? It was like being enveloped in a seductive sea of Aqua Net, stonewashed denim, and studded leather. In the dim lighting of the W Hotel's lounge/bar, the snapshots of her in her formidable years as a pop artist—confidently posing in her rundown apartment, teeming with sexy defiance, and dancing with urban kids on rooftops—brought you back to an era where pop music was being redefined and she was one of its main authors. (Just like in Desperately Seeking Susan, we kinda wanted to dry our armpits under a hand dryer to celebrate the occasion, if that makes any sense.).
If you're around the New York area, the nostalgic photographs will be open to the public at the W Times Square til May 12th.
All photos by Richard Corman, courtesy of Rock Paper Photo.