New York City’s Historic Artist Studios.
Edward Hopper 3 Washington Square North, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
From 1913 until his death in 1967, painter Edward Hopper lived and worked in the fourth floor of a modest 19th-century townhouse on the north side of Washington Square Park. At the time, Greenwich Village was an active artist community. Now 3 Washington Square is part of the New York University (NYU) Silver School of Social Work, with components of the space Hopper shared with his wife and fellow artist Josephine is preserved. The studio is open to the public by appointment, and is regularly a part of the annual, “Open House New York”.
The deadliest industrial disaster, in the history of the city of New York was “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire”, on March 25, 1911. The building is gone, but the event is commemorated with a brass plaque at street level on the Broadway side. The ‘Hopper’ painting shows the flatiron building from Fifth Avenue. Immediately beyond, is Broadway and across Broadway is this historic site.
When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney set up her sculpture studio in Greenwich Village’s MacDougal Alley, one 1907 newspaper headline blared: “Daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt Will Live in a Dingy New York Alley.” The wealthy lineage telegraphed by her name was an obstacle to being taken seriously as an artist, but that status also allowed her to be a major patron for working artists in the US at a time when most of the country’s elite was interested in old European masters. She expanded her initial studio into a whole art complex, complete with public exhibition space, eventually opening the first home of the Whitney Museum of American Art here in 1931.
526 LaGuardia Place, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
The Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation in Greenwich Village (photo by Jooltman/Wikimedia)
The Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation in Greenwich Village (photo by Jooltman/Wikimedia) It’s easy to walk by the elaborate gate at 526 LaGuardia Place and miss the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, but it’s worth a visit to see the studio of the late modernist sculptor Chaim Gross. His tools for his direct carving technique are on view alongside his figurative pieces in wood, bronze, and stone, all illuminated by a huge skylight.
The four-story Greenwich Village home also holds the Gross’s impressive art collection, with traditional African and Oceanic objects, as well as contemporary work by artists like Max Ernst and Willem de Kooning, and rotating exhibitions. The Foundation is open 1pm to 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as by appointment. Off hours, you can view an example of his sculpture, made in 1979, dubbed “The Family”, a bronze at Bleecker and West 11th Street.
676 Broadway, Noho, Manhattan
The Keith Haring Foundation, housed in Keith Haring’s former studio.
The Keith Haring Foundation
The mission of the Keith Haring Foundation is to sustain, expand, and protect the legacy of Keith Haring, his art, and his ideals. The Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS.
Keith Haring (1958-1990) generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. In 1989, Keith established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely.
Throughout the 70s & 80s personally saw and admired Keith Haring’s graffiti, illegally installed in subways stations throughout the city. Almost all of these art installations have been destroyed.
Haring, working in a subway tunnel that connects Manhattan & Queens subways.
Keith Haring enjoyed a dual career. In the subway and sometimes on the street, he drew in black and white and occasionally in day-glo greens, oranges, and purples. As a ‘fine artist’ he enjoyed almost immediate success in New York and internationally.
It was his parallel career, fine professional artist and graffiti street and subway artist that allowed him to simultaniously work the streets and subways. So, fine art collectors of his fine work subsidized the unremunerated aspects of his activity. Thus, Keith Haring worked and earned substantial monies exhibiting in commercial galleries and museums and selling decorated plates and other imprinted items decorated with his iconic art.
Keith Haring’s work appeals on several levels. First, its goofy and cheerful and through repetition it becames an elite motif and celebration of ‘modern times’, filled with hope, energy and wellness. His ‘Radiant Baby’, ‘Barking Dog’, “Space Ships” and hands to heaven, are part of his personal language, which speaks to us with immediacy, yet without words. He attended the “School Of Visual Arts” noted for its illustration and cartoon curiculums.
His personal ‘pictographic language’ reads simultaneously as subject, verb, or object. His Dogs Bark, his Spacecrafts glow and his viewers empathize with his Praying Men. His simple and direct pictographs talk, much like the Chinese and Egyptian did. In Keith’s world, symbols spoke urgently, both alone and grouped. Haring’s symbols swathed in silence – talk very clearly. An eerie quietude surrounds all his works, heightening and animating the dramas it projects
“Oh-Calcutta” advertising poster, next to Andy Warhol drawing.
Oh Calcutta Subway Drawing By Keith Haring
One day while riding the F train, Keith Haring discovered empty subway advertising spaces covered with black paper. Taking note of the soft matted quality of the paper, Haring instinctively concluded that white chalk would be the perfect medium for this surface. Not only was the chalk easy to conceal, but it also produced a crisp, tactile effect against the paper.
My personal note:
Both Keith Haring and I matriculated at “The School Of Visual Arts”. For one semester I learned ‘comic illustration’ in a class taught by R.O. Blechman and Charles Slachman. Together Blechman and Slachman influenced a generation of illustrators who simultaneously produce art, illustration and humor. What I discovered was that most good illustrators in this category develop and perfect an endemic personal vision that continues throughout their careers. And Keith Haring can be explained, exactly this way.
Following, is an example of Blechman’s personal vision, illustration and humor.
Marvin L. Piller 😆
101 Spring Street, Soho, Manhattan
Donald Judd’s former home and studio at 101 Spring Street (photo by Trevor Patt/Flickr)
Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd’s five-story studio and home at 101 Spring Street opened to the public in June 2013, with art by Judd and his contemporaries like Dan Flavin and Frank Stella, all installed as it was when he died in 1994. Judd first moved into the Soho space in 1968, and continued to use it even when he started to spend time in Marfa in the 1970s. Along with the art are artifacts from his Spring Street entertaining, including an industrial meat-slicer and Baccarat glasses. The Judd Foundation, which manages his Marfa site, oversees the studio in the cast-iron loft building, with weekly guided visits that can be booked online.
Think of ‘Minimalism’ as the name not of an artistic style but of a historical moment, a brief outbreak of critical thought and invention in the cavalcade of post-war American art … Many of the American artists known as minimalists have in common little more than the fact that their works met with some recognition and success in the New York art market, as it began to set the pace of international traffic from the 1960 through the 1980s.
Minimalism is used in a general sense to denote works of art or forms of design that are characterised by a stylistic austerity. It is more precise when applied to the visual arts, especially sculpture. The works produced from the 1960s onwards by Carl Andre and Donald Judd, for example, are generally referred to as minimalist. Expressive technique was absent, factory-made replaced handmade. The work found its roots in Suprematism, De Stijl and Russian Constructivism, in the work of Kasimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers. Mondrian and Albers both lived in America in the latter part of their lives. American industry and the burgeoning mass production of objects of all kinds lent itself to the method and vision of both Judd and Tony Smith. – More –
John A. Noble
1000 Richmond Terrace # 8, Staten Island
John A. Noble’s Houseboat Studio (courtesy the Noble Maritime Collection).
Comment by Joelle Morrison on this post alerted us to the houseboat studio of John A. Noble on Staten Island, and it’s so lovely as to warrant an update. Docked at the Noble Maritime Collection at Snug Harbor, the studio is where the marine artist worked on his drawings, paintings and lithographs.
A restoration completed in 2002 returned it to its 1954 appearance, when Noble fashioned it from an abandoned yacht interior and secured it on a wooden barge. Noble worked for four decades on the North Shore, and nicknamed his floating workspace his “own little leaking Monticello.” – ∞ –