Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965, published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, offers a major reappraisal of New York’s post–World War II art scene from the vantage point of fourteen innovative artist-run galleries. This four-color, lavishly illustrated, 296-page book features a five-part essay by exhibition guest curator Melissa Rachleff, clinical associate professor in NYU’s Steinhardt School, and previously unpublished interviews with artists, critics, and art dealers by Julie Martin and Billy Klüver. Together, these reenvision this crucially important period in the history of art, uncovering greater depth, diversity, creativity, and nuance than have been previously attributed to it.
Unlike other publications that have dealt with the 13-year period in question, Inventing Downtown shifts the discussion away from a progression of styles—Abstract Expressionism, figuration, Pop, and Minimalism—to a reexamination of the New York art scene from cultural, social, and economic viewpoints, paying special attention to women and artists of color. In addition to the multi-part essay and interviews, it includes a foreword and introduction by Grey Art Gallery director Lynn Gumpert as well as a comprehensive bibliography.
Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 is published by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel. DelMonico Books, established in 2009 in partnership with Prestel, focuses on distinctive art books and museum co-publications. The imprint is headed by Mary DelMonico, a museum publishing consultant, book producer, and former director of publications and new media at the Whitney Museum of American Art, who has been producing illustrated books for more than twenty years.