The Mudd Club–named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, a doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg when he fled capture after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination–was opened in 1978. It quickly became a staple in the city’s underground art and music scene and was a hotspot for up-and-coming artists and musicians such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol. David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Nico, and Keith Haring, who was the curator of the club’s fourth floor rotating art gallery. It also served as an important punk and rock music venue, with bands like The Contortions, DNA, and the Talking Heads debuting new albums and compositions on its stage.
The club’s importance in the New York music and art scenes can be seen in the many references made to it in songs: “Life During Wartime” by the Talking Heads and “The Return of Jackie and Judy” by the Ramones both make references to the venue.
Despite its popularity at its inception, club shut its doors in 1983. In 2007, Creative Time, an arts organization, placed a plaque on the building at 78 White Street to commemorate its existence.