Inventing Downtown

Allan Kaprow, Blue Blue Blue, 1956, collage and oil on canvas, 60 x 47 1/2 inches (Allan Kaprow Estate. Courtesy Hauser and Wirth, New York)
Allan Kaprow, Blue Blue Blue, 1956, collage and oil on canvas, 60 x 47 1/2 inches (Allan Kaprow Estate. Courtesy Hauser and Wirth, New York)

Ron Morosan reviews Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, on view through April 1, 2017.

Morosan writes: "As we examine more of the evidence presented in Inventing Downtown we start to see how this exhibition shows the missing link in the development of what has become known as American Art of our time, how the triumph of Abstract Expressionism is forced to give way to the explosion of Pop Art, and also the cool intellectual narrative of Minimal art ... While Inventing Downtown does not represent all the important galleries that existed during this time, galleries like the Camino, Area, and Phoenix, it does an excellent job of recreating the feeling and sensibilities of that time. We are prompted to speculate on what the art of the past fifty years might have looked like if artists of the social figurative group or the political group had been promoted."