Examining the New York art scene during the fertile years between the apex of Abstract Expressionism and the rise of Pop Art and Minimalism, Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 is the first show ever to survey this vital period from the vantage point of its artist-run galleries—crucibles of experimentation and innovation that radically changed the art world. With more than 200 paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs, ephemera, and films, the show reveals a scene that was much more diverse than has previously been acknowledged, with women and artists of color playing major roles. It features works by abstract and figurative painters and sculptors, as well as pioneers of installation and performance art. Artists range from well-known figures such as Jim Dine, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Alex Katz, Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, and Mark di Suvero, to those who deserve to be better known, including Emilio Cruz, Lois Dodd, Rosalyn Drexler, Sally Hazelet Drummond, Jean Follett, Lester Johnson, Boris Lurie, Jan Müller, and Aldo Tambellini.
Inventing Downtown is curated by Melissa Rachleff, clinical associate professor in NYU’s Steinhardt School.
Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 is organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and curated by Melissa Rachleff. Its presentation is made possible in part by the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art; the Henry Luce Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the S. & J. Lurje Memorial Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Boris Lurie Art Foundation; the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; the Art Dealers Association Foundation; Ann Hatch; the Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts; Arne and Milly Glimcher; The Cowles Charitable Trust; and the Japan Foundation. The publication is supported by a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Additional support is provided by the Grey Art Gallery’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust.