Illegal Living. 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo

In the mid-1960s, Fluxus founder George Maciunas became preoccupied with the problem of artists’ housing. “Normally the artist requires long unbroken spaces with high ceilings and adequate illumination,” he wrote in a manifesto, “and these needs can only be met by commercial lofts.” Maciunas saw that New York’s numerous underutilized downtown buildings would provide ideal live-work spaces for artists, and in 1967 he bought 80 Wooster Street, creating the first artists’ co-op, and one of Manhattan’s most buzzing avant-garde hotspots. 80 Wooster Street was home to Trisha Brown, Jonas Mekas and Robert Watts among others, and hundreds of artists, including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Philip Glass, Hermann Nitsch, Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol showed their work there. Revealing the labyrinthine history and legacy of 80 Wooster St and SoHo through archival photographs, interviews and first-person accounts, Illegal Living offers a definitive excavation of Maciunas’ incredible venture.

Text: Bernstein Roslyn, Shapiro Shael. cm 24×24; pp. 300; COL and BW; paperback. Publisher: Jonas Mekas Foundation, 2010.

ISBN: 9786099517209 | 6099517200

Product Description

In the mid-1960s, Fluxus founder George Maciunas became preoccupied with the problem of artists’ housing. “Normally the artist requires long unbroken spaces with high ceilings and adequate illumination,” he wrote in a manifesto, “and these needs can only be met by commercial lofts.” Maciunas saw that New York’s numerous underutilized downtown buildings would provide ideal live-work spaces for artists, and in 1967 he bought 80 Wooster Street, creating the first artists’ co-op, and one of Manhattan’s most buzzing avant-garde hotspots. 80 Wooster Street was home to Trisha Brown, Jonas Mekas and Robert Watts among others, and hundreds of artists, including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Philip Glass, Hermann Nitsch, Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol showed their work there. Revealing the labyrinthine history and legacy of 80 Wooster St and SoHo through archival photographs, interviews and first-person accounts, Illegal Living offers a definitive excavation of Maciunas’ incredible venture.

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