The Warhol Economy, by Elizabeth Currid


Book review by Eric Miller

At the time he turned forty the painter Martin Johnson Heade had yet to produce a distinguished painting. In 1859 he rented a studio in New York ‘s Tenth Street Studio building and changed his fate. His contact with other members of the Hudson River School radically improved his work. Unfortunately Heade later moved to Florida and was all but forgotten.

New York wasn’t the center of the art world in the 1850s it is today, but Heade’s story shows that New York was well on its way to being a place where people make things happen. In turn, the city makes people happen.

Leaving Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol also went to New York. Unlike Heade, Warhol never left New York and is never to be forgotten. Like Warhol’s Factory, the Tenth Street Studio of the Hudson River painters allowed Heade to meet other painters, as New York allowed artists to meet people of other professions, with divergent expertise, at random, that helped their career. Except if going to New York is a purposeful act, it might not be as random as we might assume.

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About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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