"Curator At Large"
If you had to give Diego Cortez a job description, try curator at large. Though he continues to take on such traditional roles as contemporary curator for Tibet House in New York City, his influence has long been felt far beyond the art world. When punk, late-seventies style, was getting predictable and new wave was turning cute, Diego managed and promoted bands like the Contortions, who took a far more challenging approach, blending free jazz noisiness with punk's fuck-off attitude. The only label that worked for the sound was no wave, an infamous and influential detour in the history of art-rock.
At the end of the seventies, Diego co-founded a New York City nightspot that defied all the standards of the time; it was a stripped-down space with no identifying entrance, in a location well beyond the borders of the familiar. The place was called the Mudd Club, and what it lacked in decor it made up in hauteur -- and it changed the face of nightlife forever. The Mudd Club, now just a memory for those who actually got in the door, earned an exalted place among such storied Manhattan institutions as CBGB's and Max's Kansas City.
Then, in 1981, Diego brought together all the disparate strands of his professional life in a remarkable, once-in-a-generation art exhibition called New York, New Wave. It was a defining moment for a new decade. Diego had culled the art, the music, and the attitude from the cutting edge and let it all collide in old elementary school in Long Island City, Queens called P.S. 1. The work of David Byrne, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf, among many others, was on the walls and in the halls. Every hipster in town made it to that opening, causing the coolest gridlock in the history of New York City. If you weren't there, don't worry about being square, because the aftereffects of Diego's vision can still be felt everywhere -- in music, art, design, video, and fashion. The future started at that show.
Diego Cortez is still working in many facets. A childhood pianist, he was re-inspired to play piano again in 1997 after noticing some old piano's in a music shop in Naples, Italy. He sought the creative energy of DJ Spooky, and worked with him for approximately two years to produce their album, "Stuzzicadenti."
Through his website Cortez is still making many initiatives in the art world - everything from Fundraising, education, film and sound document and what he is known best for - curating.