Allen and Peter at the opening of "The August Show", 1982 Nature Morte Gallery

Alan Belcher and Peter Nagy (directors of Nature Morte Gallery) at the opening of “The August Show” (1982). SX70 polaroid by Linda Psomas


Ault, J. (2002). Alternative Art, New York, 1965-1985. New York: The Drawing Center . ISBN-10: 0816637938

Ault, J. (1996). Cultural Economies: Histories from the Alternative Arts Movement, NYC. New York: The Drawing Center. ASIN: B001ESVC40

Basquiat, Jean-Michel; see also Film – Schnabel; Film – Maripol

Buskirk, M., & Weyergraf-Serra, C. (Eds.) (1990). The Destruction of the Tilted Arc. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN-10: 0262231557

Prior to its installation in 1980, the concept for Tilted Arc was approved by the GSA with the understanding that the work would be site-specific. Considered Richard Serra’s most ambitious and important public work, it was destroyed in 1989 after a highly publicized and hotly contested legal battle — possibly one of the most significant events in the visual arts in the 1980s. This book recounts these proceedings through primary materials, including government memos, legal briefs, letters, interviews, and public statements, included is an introduction by Richard Serra.

Collins, T., & Milazzo, R. (1988). Art at the End of the Social. Malmo, SE: Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art. ASIN: B001KJS6LU

Collins, T., Pincus-Witten, R., & Milazzo, R. (1990). The Last Decade: American Artists of the ’80s. New York: Tony Shafrazi Gallery. ASIN: B000GWSO6E

Cameron, D. (2004). East Village USA. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art. ISBN-10: 0915557886

Lavishly illustrated catalog which accompanied an exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Over 200 images covering the stylistic gamut from graffiti and punk expressionism to Neo-Geo — works by over 75 artists and documentary photographs of people, galleries, performance spaces, and clubs.

Eklund, D. (2009). The Pictures Generation: 1974-1984. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN-10: 0300148925

Examination of the Pictures Generation, a loosely knit group of artists working in New York from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The movement concerned itself with deconstructing the myth and artifice behind stereotypical images of women and minorities, and the subtle dismantling of advertising campaigns and icons, preceding by decades the culture jamming/ad busting trend of the 1990s and 2000s. Includes images and 3 essays by curator. See also Met’s web-page on the exhibit: special exhibitions

Events. Fashion Moda, Taller Boricua, Artists Invite Artists (1984). Exhibition catalog.New York: New Museum.

Foster, Hal. (1983). The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Seattle: Bay Press. ISBN-10: 1565847423

Named a Best Book of the Year by the Village Voice and considered a bible of contemporary cultural criticism, preeminent critics such as Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said consider the full range of postmodern cultural production, from the writing of John Cage, to Cindy Sherman’s film stills, to Barbara Kruger’s collages.

Freeman, P., Himmel, E., Pavese, E., & Yarowsky, A. (Eds.). (1980). New Art. New York: Abrams. ASIN: B000VWN342

Gruen, J., (1991). Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography. Macmillan General Reference. ISBN-10: 0135161134

Gruen tells the fascinating story of Haring, from his phenomenal rise on the international art scene as graffiti artist extraordinaire, whose “radiant child” became a worldwide symbol of the Eighties pop culture, to his tragic death from AIDS at the age of 31. His life and work are seen through personal and candid interviews with the artist, members of his family, friends, and celebrities, including William Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Madonna, and Princess Caroline. Life in the fast lane New York style, with its all-too-familiar components of celebrity, drugs, and sex.

Hagenberg, R. (1986). The East Village. A Guide. A Documentary. New York: Pelham Press.

Hager, S. (1986). Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene.New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Halley, P., & Rosenberg, B. A. (1992). The City Influence: Ross Bleckner, Peter Halley, Jonathan Lasker : Dayton Art Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art at Wright State University, January 26-February 21, 1992. Dayton: The Museum. ISBN: 0932706193

Halley, P., Saltz, J., & Smith, R. (1986). Beyond boundaries: New York’s New Art. New York: A. van der Marck Editions. ISBN: 0912383313

Krauss, R. (1986). The Originality of the Avant-Garde: A Postmodern Rep. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN-10: 0262610469

Kruger, B., & Mariani, P. (Ed.). (1989). Remaking History (Discussions in Contemporary Culture #4). New York: Dia Art Foundation. ISBN: 1565845005

Discusses post-modern concerns such as imperialism, deconstruction, and sexual representation of the “other” in Western discourse. Contributors include: Homi Bhabha, Edward Said, Cornel West, and Gayatri Spivak.

Looker, M., & Plous, P. (1984). Neo York: Report on a Phenomenon. Santa Barbara: University Art Museum.

Massers, J., (2001). Sex, Art, and the Dow Jones. Berlin: Lukas & Sternberg. SBN-10: 0967180295.

David Wojnarowicz: Untitled, 1985. Courtesy Gracie Mansion.

French author Jean-Charles Massera discusses the works of various artists ( Vito Acconci, Stan Douglas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Pierre Huyghe, et al.) and film-makers (Jean-Luc Godard, Wong Kar-wai, Nanni Moretti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, et al.). Extracting questions from art and film history of the 1980’s, he considers anthropology, politics, sociology and aesthetic context.

Organizing artists: a document and directory of the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (1992). Washington, D.C. : The Association.

Pearlman, A. (2003). Unpackaging Art of the 1980s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN-10: 0226651452

Many art critics of the 1980s feared that market hype and self-promotion threatened the integrity of art. Divided into 3 parts, Pearlman reassesses the works and careers of six of the most successful artists to arise from the NYC art boom of the 1980s. She pairs two artists with the critics viewed as emblematic of a given trend: Julian Schnabel and David Salle in association with Neo-Expressionism; Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring vis-à-vis Graffiti Art; and Peter Halley and Jeff Koons in relation to Simulationism. Pearlman shows how all these artists share a crucial and overwhelming inheritance of 1960s and 1970s Conceptualism, a Warholian understanding of public identity, and appropriation of past styles and media.

Performance Art: see Film and Theater

Schwartzman, A. (1985). Street Art. Garden City, N.Y.: Dial Press.

Taylor, M.J. (Ed.). (2006). The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Catalog from an exhibit held at NYUs’s Grey Art Gallery, The Downtown Book probes the trends that arose in the 1970s and early ’80s and solidified New York’s reputation as arbiter of the postmodern American avant-garde. Seven essays, with twelve personal reminiscences, and over 350 reproductions, provide a lively survey of the media, trends, and culture of the Downtown scene. See also the exhibition’s website:

Tomkins, C., (1988). Post-To-Neo: The Art World of the 1980’s (pp. 181-241). New York: Henry Holt & Co.. ISBN-10: 080500663

Word as Image: American Art 1960-1990. (1990).Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum. ISBN-10: 9991811362

Tucker, M., & Wallis, B.(Eds.). (1984). Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art. ASIN: B000K4STV8

For a hypertext bibliography of participating artists, see also the related site:

Wu, C., (2002). Privatizing Culture: Corporate Art Intervention Since the 1980’s(pp. 341-343). London; New York: Verso.ISBN-10: 1859844723

The National Endowment for the Arts and the dramatic changes brought by Reagan’s political moves encouraged private support of the arts, such as major tax incentives created in concert with drastically reduced federal aid. Studied here is the impact of conservative politics and the relationship between art and business that flourished in the 1980s.



Andy Warhol paints Debbie Harry on an Amiga. Retrieved 01/26/2010 from the YouTube website: .

We can only imagine how the 20th century would’ve wrapped-up if Andy Warhol had survived his 1987 gall-bladder surgery. This brief clip from 1985 shows Andy creating a digital portrait of Debbie Harry on a new Amiga 1000, at the first Macworld Expo held in New York City. He was a natural.

Blum, A. (1989). From the Other Side: Public Artists on Public Art. Art Journal, (Winter). pp. 336-346.

Cattelan, M. (Ed.). (2003). Bright Lights, Big City. CHARLEY (03). ISBN: 978-1-56466-106-7

Presents artists from the ’80s and ’90s through hundreds of images and an embedded bibliography. Suspended between nostalgia and archeology — Charley 03 presents a history  that breathes “what-if.”  Indeed, “Yesterday begins tomorrow”.

Cengage, G., (1996). The Art Boom. Retrieved 01/08/10 from:

This paper looks at the development of the NYC art market in the 1980’s from a business perspective.

Guide to the Downtown Flyers and Invitations Collection: 1980-1990 (2009). Retrieved 1/22/2010 from the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections website:

Finding aide for 4-linear feet of flyers and invitations related to downtown galleries, performance spaces, and nightclubs collected by former east village resident Mark Swartz. Includes itemized list.

Fashion Moda (2010). Retrieved 01/22/2010 from the TalkBack! website at CUNY:

Fashion Moda was an alternative arts space in a South Bronx storefront, active 1978-1993. This webpage features an introduction by Susan Hoeltzel, a reprint of Lucy Lippard’s 1980 essay “Real Estate and Real Art”, and Sally Webster’s essay “Fashion Moda: A Bronx Experience”.

Guerrilla Girls. Do Women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? (poster) Copyright © 1989, 1995.

Guide to Fashion Moda Archive (2009). Retrieved 1/22/2010 from the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections website:

An item level finding aide for 22 boxes of archives, includes subject-headings and an extensive bibliography.

Halley, P. (May 1982). Ross Bleckner: Painting at the End of History. Arts Magazine,56(9). pp. 132-133.

Hoban, P. (September 26, 1988). Samo is Dead: The Fall of Jean-Michel BasquiatNew York Times Magazine, pp. 36-44.

Sex-and-drugs-and-oil-paints . . . this is very tragic and in-depth look at the fine art stardom machine that created and destroyed Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Jacobus, J.M. (1980).Picasso: a symposiumArt in America, 68, pp. 9-19.

Under great pressure from observers, MoMA finally returned Picasso’s Guernica to Spain in 1981. A few months earlier, art dealer Tony Shafrazi explains in this article why he spray painted Guernica in 1974, “I wanted to bring the art absolutely up to date, to retrieve it from art history and give it life. Maybe that’s why the Guernica action remains so difficult to deal with. I tried to trespass beyond that invisible barrier that no one is allowed to cross; I wanted to dwell within the act of the painting’s creation, get involved with the making of the work, put my hand within it and by that act encourage the individual viewer to challenge it, deal with it and thus see it in its dynamic raw state as it was being made, not as a piece of history.”

It’s All True: Imagining New York’s East Village Art Scene of the 1980s (Dissertation) by Liza Kirwin. College Park: University of Maryland, 1999.

Lawson, T. (1981). Last Exit Painting. Art Forum, 20 (2). pp. 40-47.

Moore, A., & Wacks, D. (Spring 2005). Being There: The Tribeca Neighborhood of Franklin Furnace. The Drama Review, 49 (1). Retrieved 02/09/10 from the Project MUSE website:

Museum of Modern Art. (2009). Looking at Music: Side 2. Retrieved: January 16, 2010 from the MoMA website:

In the downtown scene art and music blended, and many artists found that experimental performances and the night scene was more vital than what galleries had to offer. The MoMA exhibit “Looking at Music: Side 2” featured many of these artists, and their interviews are included in this multi-media webpage.

New York – New Wave at P.S. 1: The Armory Show of the ’80s. Retrieved 01/28/2010 from:

Art in 1980 was as much about the work, as it was about why and how it came to be shared. This alternative arts movement recognizes a series of positively received and critically acclaimed exhibitions — “The Real Estate Show” was a squat, lasting only New Years Day of 1980. It was padlocked by the police on January 2 and destroyed on the 11th. In June of 1980, Collaborative Projects organized the “Times Square Show”, which was held in a former bus depot and massage parlor. Fueled by an influx of wealth and an opulence of spending, the art world became a scene unto itself. Artists were the new rock-stars. “New York/New Wave”, at P.S. 1 , gave the movement its next legitimate venue. This clip , attributed to Paul Tschinkel, gives one a sense of the space, the work, and the context.

Ricard, R. (1981). Radiant Child. Art Forum, V20(4). pp. 35-43.

Radiant Child has come to be understood as Keith Haring’s logo of a baby emitting light; in the context of this beautiful essay the term is used as a metaphor to describe the ability to define and re-invent one’s self. Many attribute this piece as a mile stone in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s career. While painting a picture of the time, Ricard discusses reasons why and how Basquiat stood out in the crowd. Anyone who ever came in contact with him, will attest to the fact that Jean-Michel was a radiant young thing.

Photograph by Hans Namuth/Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona/©1991 Hans Namuth Estate
Photograph by Hans Namuth/Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona/©1991 Hans Namuth Estate

The Boys Club:  Standing, from left, Ellsworth Kelly, Dan Flavin, Joseph Kosuth, Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner, Nassos Daphnis, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Salvatore Scarpitta, Richard Artschwager, Mia Westerlund Roosen, Cletus Johnson, and Keith Sonnier; foreground, from left, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Leo Castelli, Ed Ruscha, James Rosenquist, and Robert Barry—at the Odeon restaurant, in New York City, for the 25th anniversary of the Castelli Gallery, 1982.


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