Arthur Kozlovski's Snapshots From the Queer Underground

Arthur Kozlovski's Snapshots From the Queer Underground

By Tobias HessMay 23, 2024

"Arthur [Kozlovski] told me a gazillion times about the photos he took at parties and drag shows in the mid-2010s, but he was such a tease because they were still undeveloped. I'd jokingly tell him, ‘I'll believe it when I see them,’” remembers Tovah Feinberg of her friend, the late DJ, event producer and curator Arthur Kozlovski. “When Arthur's mom, Anna, told Paul [Biu] and I that she found and was developing his film, I was beside myself because I knew exactly what they were.”

Kozlovski was a staple of NYC’s 2010s queer music scene as the mind and magic behind events like ZODIACK and the queer techno party AGENDA. A generous spirit and a true advocate for fellow queer creatives, Kozlovski’s ingenuity and care could be seen through his work with Community Bread, a livestream and resource platform he built at the start of the pandemic with Angela Fan and Paul Bui. Its aim was to connect global audiences with LGBTQIA+ and POC artists, as well as to raise funds for like-minded artists and charities during a time of deep economic uncertainty.

Kozlovski's sudden passing in 2023 was a tragedy for the global dance community and his many friends and collaborators in New York City. In the wake of this loss, Biu, Fan, Feinberg and Kozlovski's mother came together to organize a show exhibiting Kozlovski's long-hidden photo work which delicately captured the community he loved so much. The show, titled “Underground Unfiltered,” was fittingly presented at one of Brooklyn’s most popular clubs, Paragon.

“Discovering this treasure trove of undeveloped photos from Arthur was already such a lovely surprise,” Bui tells PAPER. “[Putting the show together] was an emotional, but healing process. Working with [Arthur’s friends and family] to put it together was a wonderful cathartic experience. I could feel him beaming down on the night [of the exhibit], grinning ear to ear seeing us all together.”

“Arthur had a grand vision for the future of the global queer community and a steadfast dedication to making it happen. Through Community Bread and other endeavors, he gave and gave and gave. And notably did so for others’ benefit and purely for the joy of giving rather than seeking recognition,” says Feinberg, who is an organizer with Community Bread and the author of Rants & Raves. “I'd often have to remind him of the magnitude of what he accomplished because he was so quickly on to the next. He never settled for the status quo and didn't want any of us to either.”

“I'd known Arthur as a DJ and organizer for many years and never knew that he also had this keen eye for capturing nightlife on camera,” Fan says. “In curating this exhibition, I got to admire this other artistic side of him. Some friends and family told us that it was one of Arthur's dreams to one day exhibit his work. I'm so happy we were able to make that dream a reality.”

Benefits from “Underground Unfiltered” went to the relaunch of Community Bread, now a nonprofit which aims to uplift under-represented emerging artists. Select prints from the show are available to purchase here, with proceeds also going to Community Bread.

Photos courtesy of Community Bread