When the real estate bust of the 1970s hit New York City, artists found their own mixed uses for the city’s run-down lofts, abandoned piers, vacant lots, and deserted streets, and photographers and filmmakers documented their work. Gordon Matta-Clark turned a sanitation pier into the celebrated work Day’s End, and Betsy Sussler filmed its making; Harry Shunk made a photographic series from Willoughby Sharp’s Projects: Pier 18 (which included work by Vito Acconci, Mel Bochner, Dan Graham, Gordon Matta-Clark, and William Wegman, among others); Cindy Sherman staged some of her Untitled Film Stills on the same city streets. Mixed Use, Manhattan documents and illustrates the most significant of these projects as well as more recent works by artists who continue to engage with the city’s public, underground, and improvised spaces. The book (which accompanies a major exhibition) focuses on several important photographic series: Peter Hujar’s 1976 nighttime photographs of Manhattan’s West Side; Alvin Baltrop’s Hudson River pier photographs from 1975-1985, most of which have never before been shown or published; David Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud in New York (1978-1979), the first of Wojnarowicz’s works to be published; and several of Zoe Leonard’s photographic projects from the late 1990s on. The book includes 70 color and 130 black-and-white images; a special section on visual documentation of performances and related activities, arranged by artist Louise Lawler; Glenn Ligon’s text piece, Housing in New York: A Brief History, 1960-2007 (2007); “Losing the Form in Darkness,” an autobiographical story by David Wojnarowicz; and essays by prominent art historians.
About the Editors
Lynne Cooke is Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and Curator at Large for Dia Art Foundation.
Douglas Crimp is Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. He is the author of On the Museum’s Ruins and Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, both published by the MIT Press.