- Text by Shelley Jones
Boo-Hooray is an organisation and gallery – based in Lower Manhattan – dedicated to archiving, preserving and recognising countercultural photography, art, music and iconic pieces of print.
Its founder Johan Kugelberg is a writer and collector who’s penned many books including Velvet Underground – New York Art, Born in the Bronx, Vintage Rock T-Shirts, Beauty in the Street and Punk: An Aesthetic. He’s taught at Yale and Cornell – in fact he sold his hip hop collection to the latter, making up their entire catalogue, as well as over 1300 punk fanzines – and his collection of Paris 1968 posters is one of the most comprehensive in the world.
As Boo-Hooray, Johan has curated exhibitions of cult DIY figures like British anarcho-pacifist punk band Crass, Tulsa photographer and Kids director Larry Clark and Jacqueline De Jong, founder of vanguard publication The Situationist Times.
As well as exhibiting a collection of photography, silkscreens and fabrics by 60s Swedish underground artist Carl Johan De Greer at LA Art Book Fair 2014, Johan will give a talk at MoCA on Saturday February 1 about the problems and solutions in archiving counter-culture narratives. We caught up with the prolific collector to find out more.
What exactly is Boo-Hooray?
A small biz that organises, stabilises and places 20th Century archives with academic institutions and museums. We stage exhibitions drawn from these archives at our gallery and also publish books and zines. We work with artists, estates, cultural organizations, participants in counter-culture movements etc.
Why did you start it?
I really don’t like when the myriad of counter-culture narratives get lost, get thrown away and when the writ of history gets simplified and dumbed down as the result of these stories being MIA.
How do you hope it has an impact?
Oh, in a pipsqueak everyday life kind of way. Peer-to-peer, spreading enthusiasms. Providing access to toothsome micro-historical narratives.
What’s your slice of the art scene in NYC like?
Uh, boysenberry with whipped cream from Pie ‘n Burger?
Who’s involved in Boo-Hooray and what does everyone do?
A crew of dedicated archivists, designers and curators banging it out with the hope of helping to establish a new kind of friendlier museum.
How can people get involved/show support?
Get on the email list, come to our exhibits, buy our publications, come hang out, become an intern, come work!
Can you tell us a bit about Boo-Hooray’s activities during LA Art Book Fair…
I staged an exhibition of the photography, silkscreens and textiles of Swedish 60s master polyglot Carl Johan De Geer together with Ed and Deanna Templeton. Carl Johan is here and is awesome,
come meet him!
What have been the challenges in bringing Boo-Hooray to life?
Paying the rent, paying the salaries, balancing art and commerce, fighting commodity fetishism with commodity fetishism.
What have been the major inspirations?
Philly Museum of Art, The Hayward in London, the Bodleian Library, Spencer Sweeney, Paul Major, Jonas Mekas, Barbara Rubin, Lou Reed, Pie ‘n Burger.
What’s the future for Boo-Hooray?
We are finishing up work on the Living Theatre archive, the Printed Matter archive, a CRAZY Sex Pistols archive and a massive Jack Smith archive. Also more exhibitions: Piero Heliczer, Ake Hodell, The Sucklord, History of Zines, The IRAK Crew. Some amazing books coming up: Afrika Bambaataa, sleaze paperbacks, underground film posters… Get in touch please people! Come hang out!