This tour starts in Soho and ends on the steps of Willem deKooning's old East Village studio, and references everything and everyone from Edward Hooper's Nighthawks and Ruth Kligman's gallery to the place Andy Warhol bought vintage clothes and the studio where Matthew Brady photographed Abraham Lincoln.

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

And all of this took place below 14th St.

While Fred W. 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. 

McDarrah's interest in photographing artists can be traced to a 1949 visit to Falmouth, MA, a town on Cape Cod. Through a mutual friend, he was introduced that summer to painter William Littlefield (1902-1969). Littlefield, who came from a wealthy family, had studied in Paris, counted Mrs. John D. Rockefeller among his first patrons and was a window into a world McDarrah, who came from poverty and matriculated on the streets of Brooklyn, had never previously seen.  








Beginning in the 1940s, Littlefield and sculptor Philip Pavia hosted informal gatherings at The Club, an artist membership association that first met at the old Waldorf Cafeteria, at 6th Avenue and 8th Street. Over the years, the Club moved to Broadway, to East 14th Street, to 10th Street and 4th Avenue, to 2nd Avenue, to St. Marks Place, and finally to Mercer Street, not far from its original home. The Club hosted seminars, panels, parties, talks, readings and other events where artists of the day would share and exchange ideas and opinions. The Club and its activities were central to the creation of the Abstract Expressionist movement and The New York School. Many of The Club's members lived and worked within a few blocks of its doors: Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Ad Reinhardt, James Brooks, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jack Tworkov, Alfred Leslie, Milton Resnick, Lee Krasner, Philip Guston, William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Nicholas Krushenick and Adolph Gottlieb.

At Littlefield's invitation, McDarrah attended events at The Club and eventually became the doorman and keeper of the mailing list, cultivating relationships with many of the member artists. Often, he'd have his camera and unobtrusively document the world of the artists he had become a part of.








On some occasions, a non-artist with a connection to The Club attended an event, such as Jack Kerouac, who did a cameo on the drums at the 1958 New Year's Eve party.

Sensing the cultural importance of the moment, McDarrah then decided to capture all he could with his camera, which resulted in the seminal 1961 book, The Artist's World in Pictures (text by Gloria McDarrah, Introduction by Thomas B. Hess, EP Dutton, New York 204 pages).

After that, the next generation of artists - including Pop icons Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Dan Flavin, John Chamberlain, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist - often sought out McDarrah and coverage in the Village Voice, where McDarrah had a day job as an advertising salesman and was the staff photographer. Warhol would often call McDarrah at home in the early days, hoping he would take his photo and use it in the Voice, one of the few periodicals giving serious coverage to the Pop genre - and to women artists. McDarrah's archive also includes rare images of Marisol, Eva Hesse, Yayoi Kusama, Carolee Schneemann, Rosalyn Drexler, Hanna Wilke, Niki de Saint Phalle, Marisol, Faith Ringgold, Alice Neel and Marjorie Strider.

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