11.25 x 10.25 INCHES / 96 PAGES HARDCOVER
EDITION OF 500
"Looking back it seems odd that as the city teetered on the brink of collapse, with its poorer neighborhoods turned into abandoned war zones, artists were launching what turned out to be a decade’s worth of new art movements… In photographs of that desperate streetscape we can see today a picturesque setting for the daring and the new."
– Walter Robinson, artist and critic
excerpt from the foreword to Artists in Residence
Stephen Aiken does more than simply add color to the established record of New York's good old bad days. Though he does quite literally do that: his 35mm photos collected in Artists in Residence: Downtown New York in the 1970s are some of the few of the '70s downtown milieu not in black & white, turning even familiar terrain into revelatory new vistas. Just as significantly, his previously unpublished images from the period help enrich and complicate the accepted notion of a city teetering on the verge of collapse. What emerges is what was taking place inside many of those seemingly bombed-out tenements–namely, a cultural explosion.
Aiken's photos of this downtown scene include intimate portraits of the poets William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, and an on-the-cusp of stardom Patti Smith; the artist Joseph Beuys during his first visit to America, holding court with fellow artist Hannah Wilke before a raucous audience at the New School; and the musicians John Cale, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan. These shots of hipster royalty are paired with Aiken's no-less-revealing street photography capturing the city in all its then-gritty glory.
The book includes a beautifully written foreword by Walter Robinson, co-founder of the seminal '70s art journal Art-Rite, and an introduction by Brett Sokol, a contributing writer on the arts for the New York Times.