When recession-plagued New York City abandoned its industrial base in the 1970s, performance artists, photographers, and filmmakers found their own mixed uses for the city's run-down lofts, abandoned piers, vacant lots, and deserted streets. Gordon Matta-Clark turned a sanitation pier into the celebrated work Day's End and Betsy Sussler filmed its making; the photographic team Shunk-Kender shot a vast series of images of Willoughby Sharp's Projects: Pier 18 (which included work by Vito Acconci, Mel Bochner, Dan Graham, Matta-Clark, and William Wegman, among others); and Cindy Sherman staged some of her Untitled Film Stills on the streets of Lower Manhattan. Mixed Use, Manhattan documents and illustrates these projects as well as more recent work 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 chronology of the policy decisions and developments that altered the face of New York City from 1950 to the present; an autobiographical story by David Wojnarowicz; and essays by Johanna Burton, Lytle Shaw, Juan Suarez, and the exhibition's curators, Lynne Cooke and Douglas Crimp.
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.