R.I.P. Ronnie Cutrone: Pop Artist, Warhol Confidant, and Nightlife Inspiration

Bad news slaughtered my Monday afternoon naïveté as word came that the great artist, and my pal, Ronnie Cutrone has passed. Another casuality, along with Arturo Vega, Liz Bursis, and Mark Kamins, of an era of great light and great darkness. Ronnie’s legacy includes a stint with Andy Warhol during his championship years of 1972 to 1980. His post-Pop paintings have been exhibited in the Whitney and MoMA. His creative presence has been omnipresent in scenes that include the entirety of our downtown lifestyle. His contributions to Creative Hardware’s comet helped energize and legitimize that sorely-missed spot. Creative honcho Stuart Braunstein called me with the sad news.

It seems like eons ago when  Ronnie’s iconic use of Woody Woodpecker raised my eyebrows and consciousness. He painted a serious of "life" paintings for my club Life right after Robert Indiana and before Arturo Vega. I met Ronnie through his ex Kelly Cutrone, who was my publicist and friend, when we converted the Underground nightclub to the Palace de Beaute. That’s in the building where the Petco now sits in Union Square. An Andy Factory incarnation was upstairs, and although it was just an elevator ride away it seemed like and ocean of cool apart. I visited for some minutes some times and grew inches. Ronnie always took time to chat, enlighten me, tell me a story that couldn’t be true but certainly was. Now we have to deal with this … a story that just can’t be true but surely is. Again my generation is reminded of their own mortality as one of the candles we flitted around has gone out.

Tonight, I have been invited by the good folks at Sailor Jerry to celebrate the run of PKNY the Painkiller Tiki Bar (49 Essex Street). PKNY will be closing as landlords and such deem it. I”ll be getting a tattoo from the fine folks from Three Kings, that Williamsburg spot that will be on hand adorning the hoi poloi … lest we forger. PKNY always delivered a fun crowd and seriously fun cocktails. I guess a crowd going to a Tiki bar has decided in advance that they’re going to have a blast. Tonight , the last night will surely solidify that legacy. 

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