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The Downtown Book:
The New York Art Scene 1974-1984
Edited by Marvin J. Taylor
Foreword by Lynn Gumpert, essays by Bernard Gendron, RoseLee Goldberg, Carlo McCormick, Robert Siegle, Marvin J. Taylor, Brian Wallis, and Matthew Yokobosky.

Book Description


"This is a terrific and important book. It brings an interdisciplinary view to one of the most fecund decades in the history of avant-garde art."--Peggy Phelan, Stanford University

"In the late 1970s, when Gregory Battcock and I were both writing art columns for the Soho Weekly News, he divided Manhattan into two kinds of people: the Downtown Slouches and the Uptown Swells. This is a book filled with facts and anecdotes, told by astute eyewitnesses and not detached scholars, about the Downtown Slouches--and the wonderful crazy things they did, and made, over a remarkable ten-year period. All of the contributing writers and artists emphasize one crucial issue: for everyone living and working below Fourteenth Street at that time, identity was synonymous with geography--urban space was our mental space. We were refugees from the America of the 1950s and 60s, outcasts of the suburbs and the shopping malls. We wrote, painted, performed and played music in grateful homage to our spiritual home--and our offerings have borne fruit, as this book makes abundantly clear, by illuminating the history of American art."--Shelley Rice, New York University

"After the Vietnam War we thought we could change the world with a cultural revolution. Read this book and find out how we did it: Art and more Art and lots of Art."--Karen Finley, Visiting Professor, Tisch School for the Arts, New York University

"A magnificent, groundbreaking, blinding bright, really important book."--Dennis Cooper, author of The George Miles Cycle

"This is history still alive. More than memory, it is our identity. Did we know what we were doing? Yes. We were coming in on energy. And creating the ultimate conflagration. Some kind of end-times party. It's all over because it's all over everything we see, hear, and do now. These writings overflow with exquisite passion for a juiced time. Eventually they swept the streets. But we were already out of there."--Thurston Moore, singer and guitarist for Sonic Youth

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File created: 4/17/2014

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