Architect-curated tour of the SoHo neighborhood with special artists' studio visits
For this event, we joined forces with a local architect who has lived and worked in SoHo for over 30 years, and who was involved with every facet of its preservation and growth. The tour was an architectural and urban-history tour of SoHo, with a detour into art history as it intersected with urban development, to show how the conspiracy of post-WW2 urban renewal by wholesale demolition in this case produced a grass-roots preservation response and in the creation of the nation's first mixed-use art-centered neighborhood. As is often the case, artists were the area's pioneers, started by homesteaders only recognized by the city's zoning laws decades later. We arranged studio visits to three of Soho's famous resident artists, who moved to their living-working spaces in SoHo's formative years: Alice Aycock, Peter Reginato and Michelle Stuart. These visits, some of them unprecedented, were an opportunity to see a body of work in the environment where the art was created, illustrating the influence of SoHo's vast and rugged industrial spaces on the artists' work, and showing that artists still value SoHo's spaces and creative artist community.
Our visit started at the architect's own loft, with a short lecture on SoHo's history, and concluded with a visit to the Drawing Center, a representative of SoHo's cooperative galleries artists established to avoid commercial pressures. We then returned to the architect's loft for dinner and conversations.