Contribution by Bob Nickas and Gianni Jetzer and Leah Pires
An eye-opening book about the 1980s New York art scene, its far-reaching effects on contemporary art, and the rise of some of the biggest names in the art world today.
This groundbreaking book, accompanying a major exhibition at the Hirshhorn, tells the story of the evolution of New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s—from a DIY counterculture in the East Village to a legitimate gallery business in SoHo. Coinciding with the rise of modern branding and the onset of the information age, artists’ focus on commodities and consumerism began as satire but came to be much more complex: commodities and associated phenomena, such as advertising, now served as vessels for ideas, politics, and personal relationships in “brand-new” types of painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and performance.
In a book full of visual surprises, newly commissioned essays shed new light on this pivotal period: curator Gianni Jetzer provides a comprehensive overview, while Leah Pires illuminates lesser-known conceptual collaborations, and Bob Nickas offers an eyewitness account of the East Village gallery scene. These texts, together with an illustrated chronology, provide a fresh account of the moment at which contemporary artists such as Felix González-Torres, Peter Halley, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman grabbed the ball from Andy Warhol and ran with it, changing the rules of the game forever.
About The Author
Melissa Chiu is the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Gianni Jetzer is curator-at-large at the Hirshhorn. Leah Pires is a New York–based writer and curator. Bob Nickas is a critic and curator in New York.