We know, we know—downtown’s not what it used to be. But for those of us too young to remember the heyday of clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB, you won’t likely get a better education on the good ol’ days than at MOMA’s Looking at Music: Side 2, an in-depth exhibit on the art and music that came out of the terrible conditions of a bankrupt New York in the early ’70s. Hear stories by the artists themselves on the audio tour, as well as music recorded live at the clubs. Some of the rare artifacts on display include drawings by Patti Smith and Basquiat, the rarely seen Bob Gruen 1976 video “New York Death Cult (Live at Max’s Kansas City),” flyers by the conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, and dozens of old photographs of iconic New York bands snapped by the major rock photographers of the day. Just to see Stephanie Chernikowski’s 1983 black-and-white of a young Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon (wearing stupidly cool flip-up shades) is worth the price of admission.

June 17-Nov. 30, 2009