The 1980s “art junkies” of Avenue B

“East Village galleries are multiplying like white rats,” states an article in the October 1983 edition of the East Village Eye.

That’s just a slight exaggeration. Roughly between 1980 and 1987, hundreds of galleries opened in the neighborhood, making Second Avenue to Avenue B the center of an art scene that drew inspiration from punk, graffiti, and performance art.

This party pic from the East Village Eye suggests that much emphasis was placed on the scene as well as the art itself.

The end of the East Village as a gallery mecca has been attributed to many things: the 1987 stock market crash; AIDS; the death of Andy Warhol in 1987 and protege Jean-Michel Basquiat a year later; and of course, rising rents.

It’s been memorialized in books and museum retrospectives, like this one at the New Museum in 2004.

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One Response to “The 1980s “art junkies” of Avenue B”

  1. Keith Goldstein Says:

    I lived in the East Village for over 30 years. Part of it before, during, and after, the 80s. This was an exciting time and I have many fond memories.

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