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Sam M

Re-reading the previous post about the Mayor of Braddock, I saw a reference to the idea that decline can be an element in an area's revitalization. It's from the City Paper article:

Fetterman sees Braddock’s plight as an opportunity. As his Web site (www.15104.cc) puts it, “destruction breeds creation”: The “malignantly beautiful town” of Braddock, the site adds, offers “an unparalleled opportunity for the urban pioneer, artist or misfit to be part of a new, experimental effort.”

End quote.

Interesting. If this were always true, I suppose, the best way to refurbish your own house or neighborhood would be to simply let it deteriorate. Of course it's not that easy. (This is similar to arguments that wars are good for the economy. If so, why not skip the war and simply dynamite a few cities?) I guess the trick is finding the balance...

John Morris


I wasn't able to follow all the links and read all the articles. I read the first one and it supports what i remember. The history is very much one of people, making a the best of a situation in spite of and largley in opposition to the official plans.

The whole WTC, project was an enourmous boondogle and simply put more office space into an area overloaded with it. The real story of transformation was the gradual integration and growth of residential housing throughout the whole area. Largely, this was not a legal process and involved thousands of artists, who populated the blocks of Tribeca above the WTC and also Soho and all the other areas nearby.

The current show at the Warhol documents the time very well.

Current Exhibitions

The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-84
May 27 through October 22, 2006

In the mid-1970s, a distinctive “downtown attitude” toward life and art took hold in lower Manhattan. Artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers began creating work that was at once populist and subversive, utopian and raw, antic and angry. Influenced by the Beats and New York School artists as well as hippies, Marxists, and anarchists, downtown artists began pushing the limits of traditional artistic categories — visual artists were also writers; writers were developing performance pieces; performers were incorporating videos into their work; and everyone was in a band. Organized by the Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library at New York University and curated by Paper Magazine Senior Editor, Carlo McCormick, The Downtown Show is the first substantial retrospective of these critically important years. The exhibition includes more than 500 paintings, sculptures, drawings, videos and photographs, as well as more than 100 archival items relating to the downtown scene. Featured artists include Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Jim Jarmush, Christian Marclay, Cindy Sherman, Nam June Paik, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer and many others.

As a historic document, the show is awsome.

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