The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985

Matthew Langley Artblog, September 17, 2015

Curator Lauren Miller has put together an interesting show of art, photographs and club ephemera from 1975 through 1985 – what is now looked back as “The Downtown Decade”. I’m sure you know that downtown of the seventies/eighties was far from the upscale shopping paradise it has now become. New York was broke and downtown had no police presence to really speak of. This translated into low rents and left the residents free to create and to amuse themselves as they wished.

This “poverty” (both real and municipal) led to an artist creative class that stretched across multiple practices and brought oblique influences into new ideas that would end up creating new art forms. A few years later – the “Reagan Eighties” would start and the money would pour into downtown. Helping put an end to a decade of unprecedented creativity in lower Manhattan.

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