"Mixed Use Manhattan" ~ Photography and Related Practices 1970s to the Present

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Helen Levitt - New York, 1972 (kids with laundry) , 16 x 20 inches, C-print. - Private Collection

MADRID.-
Mixed Use Manhattan, the title of this
exhibition, refers to land-use zoning – specifically, to neighbourhoods
or
individual buildings in which a combination of commercial and
residential
functions is permitted. In the early 1970s, rezoning of parts of Lower
Manhattan
legalized a de facto situation in which artists had long appropriated
loft
spaces in partially de-industrialized areas as both studio and living
quarters.
This had generated a nascent art community which soon spawned facilities
to meet
the expanding needs of its inhabitants, from local restaurants to
artist-run
galleries and performance spaces.
The efflorescence of the
downtown art
scene in the 1970s started to transform Lower Manhattan from an area of
abandoned and derelict buildings, razed blocks, and a wasted waterfront
into an
increasingly vital terrain for vanguard activity. By mid-decade, SoHo,
the
area’s epicentre, had become not only a mecca for artists and art
galleries but
a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood. On view at the Museo Nacional
Centro de
Arte Reina Sofía through 27 September.