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Richie Williamson

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Richie Williamson (Richard Dale Williamson) (born January 10th, 1947) is an American fashion photographer, designer and videographer living in New York City.

Williamson is best known for his work with Dean Janoff in creating the sets, dancefloor, visuals and Moon and Spoon symbol for the launch of the Studio 54 nightclub in 1977[1]. His reputation grew nationally when his photography began to be featured in Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine. He continued a relationship with Andy Warhol until his death in 1987.

Williamson is featured in Matt Tyrnauer’s Studio 54 documentary,[2] which details the prevailing legacy of the New York City nightclub.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Richie Williamson was originally born in De Queen, Arkansas. His family then moved to Texas, where he spent the majority of his childhood. Williamson received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 1969, majoring in art with minors in art history and French.

Career[edit]

Richie Williamson’s career began with his arrival in New York City in 1969. His first success came as a set designer for the well-known Tom Eyen play, Why Hanna’s Skirt Won’t Stay Down which was originally presented at the La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York.[3] The play was produced by Bruce Mailman. Williamson was involved in other creative endeavors during this time, including costume design. [4]

In 1975, he opened his first Studio, Aerographics with partner Dean Janoff. This company would eventually go on to be commissioned by Studio 54 co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell. They would go on to design sets for Kiss, Todd Rundgren, The Cars, Barry Manilow and others.

Williamson began to implement a new technique, airbrushing directly on photography, bringing him into contact with Daniela Morera, who featured his photo work in Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine.[5][6] The magazine’s lighting designer Jules Fisher introduced Richie Williamson and Dean Janoff to Studio 54 co-owners Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, who invited them to create the sets and visuals for Studio 54. This led Williamson to create the Moon and Spoon symbol that eventually become a lasting icon of the Disco era.[7]

Williamson’s photography career began to flourish after the unprecedented success of Studio 54. He began to regularly shoot ads for Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman. He also shot campaigns for Ralph Lauren Corporation, L'Oréal USA, Cacharel and Revlon. His ongoing work for Warhol’s Interview Magazine included spreads for French Haute Couture shows and social events like Carnivale in Venice, which Williamson shot on assignment in 1985.[8]

In 1994, Richie Williamson started video production company Wild Kind Productions with Dean Janoff, which wrote, shot and edited music videos for artists including Ghostface Killah, LL Cool J, DMX and Jay-Z for Def Jam Recordings.

In Media[edit]

Richie Williamson is a regular guest on Sirius XM’s Studio 54 Radio for The Marc and Myra Show with Myra Scheer and Marc Benecke.[9] His cultural observations have been quoted in New York Magazine[10] and he is also cited heavily in Ian Schrager’s book Studio 54, published by Rizzoli New York.[11]

Matt Tyrnauer’s Studio 54 documentary features several segments of Richie Williamson providing narrative descriptions about the club. The documentary first premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 21st, 2018 and was later featured at the Tribeca Theater on April 25th, 2018.

References[edit]

  1. "Studio 54's Paradigm-Shifting Design | Architectural Digest". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  2. Gleiberman, Owen (2018-01-23). "Film Review: 'Studio 54'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. "La MaMa". catalog.lamama.org.
  4. "On your own: David Anderson and Elizabeth Gottlieb". Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  5. Raynor, Vivien. "ART: 'KARL BODMER'S AMERICA' AT THE METROPOLITAN". Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  6. "Stephen Burrows e Daniela Morera - Vogue.it" (in italiano). Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  7. Lawrence, Tim, (2016-09-30). Life and death on the New York dance floor, 1980-1983. Durham. p. 128. ISBN 9780822361862. OCLC 932385980. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. "Going Baroque in Venice". Mr and Mrs Amos. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  9. "Studio 54 Radio - Ultimate Classic Dance". SiriusXM. October 13, 2013.
  10. LLC, New York Media (1988-08-08). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. Schrager, Ian; Goldberger, Paul; Colacello, Bob (2017). Studio 54. ISBN 978-0847843442. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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