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The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

  The restaurant FOOD was Soho at the beginning. And it is central to the new Artist's World tour in the sense that the tour doesn't use the word "juxtaposition," "derivative" or "brush stroke" in its narrative.

  The tour is more about their world, not necessarily their work. You can get that elsewhere, or at a museum or out of a book. Not many books feature what Pop or Minimalist artists ate for dinner. But that kind of stuff is important to any culture or civilization.  

  As the New York Times put so well in the obituary for FOOD co-creator and downtown artist Gordon Matta-Clark, "The restaurant lasted not quite three years in its original incarnation, as the artists who cooked in it and who ran it, more as a utopian enterprise than a business, burned out or moved on.

  "But many of the vaguely countercultural ideas fostered there — fresh and seasonal foods, a geographically catholic menu, a kitchen fully open to the dining room, cooking as a kind of performance — have now become so ingrained in restaurants in New York and other large cities that it is hard to remember a time when such a place would have seemed almost extraterrestrial....

  "Artists were also invited weekly to serve as guest chefs, and the whole dinner was considered a performance art piece. One of the most fabled, costing $4, was Matta-Clark’s 'bone dinner,' which featured oxtail soup, roasted marrow bones and frogs’ legs, among other bony entrees. After the plates were cleared, the bones were scrubbed and strung together so that diners could wear their leftovers home.

  " 'It looked like an anthropological site,' said the artist Keith Sonnier, another guest chef and a member of the extended FOOD crowd, one that also included members of Philip Glass’s ensemble, dancers from Trisha Brown’s company and other artists like Robert Kushner and Donald Judd, who lived in SoHo before it was called SoHo."

  Learn more about FOOD, what the artists ate, and where they lived, worked, played and drank on the new tour, Save the Village: The Artist's World.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.

Art tour ready to go

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on Thanksgiving 2015.

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on Thanksgiving 2015.

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on opening day in 1971. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on opening day in 1971. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah

   Save the Village: The Artist's World, a new walking tour of the photos of Fred W. McDarrah, kicks off December 5.

   Virtually every important postwar art trend matriculated below Manhattan's 14th St. 

   The Abstract Expressionists and the New York School, the nascent Soho and use of repurposed industrial spaces as studio and gallery for Pop artists, performance and site-specific installations, the East Village graffiti galleries and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks - arguably the most famous American painting of them all - all happened within walking distance of each other.

   Fred W. McDarrah, the longtime Village Voice photographer and picture editor, was right there with his camera as it happened. His iconic art world photos are the basis for this new walking tour.

   See where Robert Rauschenberg inadvertently started the sushi craze in New York City over 40 years ago. What other tour can offer you that!?

  While McDarrah's 250,000-image archive is an encyclopedic catalog of the people, places, movements, trends and events of the New York scene over the second half of the 20th century, his collection of photographs of artists is truly unique and often the sole visual record of a special time and place in the history of American art.

  The Artist's World tour, based on a 2015 exhibition at Chelsea's Steven Kasher Gallery that featured vintage photos from McDarrah's seminal 1961 book The Artist's World, is the third in a series of four Greenwich Village Walking Tours based on the photographs of McDarrah, including the ongoing Save The Village and The Beats and Bob Dylan tours, and starting later this fall, the St. Marks Place/East Village tour.

  Tickets are $25 (Adult) and $15 (Students, seniors, individuals with a valid library card, or a membership in a Historic Preservation Society, Group or Association) and every ticket includes a keepsake postcard packet.

   All tours are available for private bookings; custom or combination tours can be arranged. For tour schedules, to make reservations and for more information, go to SaveTheVillageTours.com.

 

Save the Hamptons!!?

Entertaining story in the New York Times today about how the Hamptons are being battered by wealth, interlopers, drunken revelers, Uber-style helicopter companies, nightclubs run by city folk, etc. La plus ca change, right?  

(And hats off to the writer, Jim Rutenberg, has come a long way from his days as our inexperienced sidekick at a Manhattan weekly and at a New York daily.)   

We spent many summers (and other seasons) out East, starting in the sepia-toned days (1960s, 1970s, 1980s) when we could pick up a phone book to find the address and phone number of interview subjects, ranging from Juan Trippe and William Simon  (Google them, kids) to Larry Rivers and Chuck Close. Celebrities and moguls might have had an unlisted number in New York City, but most never thought to do the same for their summer home.

But the point, and we do have one, is that in the same way that what made Greenwich Village appealing is slowly being destroyed, the same thing is happening in East Hampton, and a whole lot of other places.

Main St. and Newtown Lane in East Hampton is now DKNY Tiffany Ralph Lauren Marc Jacobs. Local businesses are a rarity. The quaint old movie place is now a multiplex. Dumpy old Ma Bergman's has for decades been the celebrity eatery Nick & Toni's (though they are actually good members of the community and the least of the problems in the Hamptons). The open space is being slowly eaten up. Hard to screw with the natural light that made the area a haven to painters from Pollock to deKooning to you name them, but can buildings like the behemoths that line West 57th St and cast a shadow into Central Park one day line Three Mile Harbor Road and cast a shadow over Accabonac Creek?

I hear you laughing at the absurdity of a 100-story building in East Hampton. However, it is not that funny. Zoning laws can change with enough financial power, as can most anything else. Some things should not be for sale, such as our collective history. Even Mr. Met isn't happy about it.  

Mr. Met after seeing Shea Stadium demolished. He understands progress but understands that sometimes preserving history is more important.

Mr. Met after seeing Shea Stadium demolished. He understands progress but understands that sometimes preserving history is more important.

Preserve the Artists Club!

Preserve the Artists Club!

 Fred W. McDarrah images are everywhere. Here are two that are part of the ongoing Activism show at the Museum of the City of New York.

And bang the drum slowly for one of the key locales of the Artists walking tour, and the New York School and Abstract Expressionist movement: the famous Artists Club.

According to our friends at EVGrieve, condos are in the works for the corner of 10th St. and 4th Ave., the corner that hosted the greatest incarnation of the famous gathering spot for artists.  http://evgrieve.com/2015/07/10-stories-of-condos-in-works-for-long.html

You can read more about The Club in the Artists Tour web page.

Willem deKooning, the older white haired fellow on the background photo of the Tours page (on the stoop of the New York Hotel Employment Agency) lived and worked down the block from the club at 88 East 10th in the early 1950s. He had moved from just around the corner at 85 Fourth Avenue. By 1960 he had sold a few pictures and rented a studio space at 831 Broadway (located across the street and just south of the Regal 14 Union Square cinema; an apartment that was later carved out of deKooning's space recently rented for $8900 per month). In 1963, DeKooning decamped for Springs, a budding artist's community in East Hampton, where he lived and work until he died in 1997.