Discovering Old New York: A Visit to the Merchant’s House

A list of things to do in New York City doesn’t commonly include house tours. Of the five major early east coast cities (also including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Charleston), it’s probably harder to get a sense of the distant past in New York than the others. From about the time of the Erie Canal, New York has been immersed in a continual process of renewing and rebuilding, a process that has made the city what it is, but has largely confined the past to museums.

Perhaps the best place to get a sense of New York around the time of the Erie Canal is the Merchant’s House at 29 East Fourth Street near Washington Square, in what was known as the “Bond Street Area.” read more

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 will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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