Art on the Block (Hardcover)

Tracking the New York Art World from SoHo to the Bowery, Bushwick and Beyond

By Ann Fensterstock

St. Martin's Press, 9781137278494, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2013

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A fascinating tour of the last five decades of contemporary art in New York City, showing how artists are catalysts of gentrification and how neighborhoods in turn shape their art--with special insights into the work of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Koons

Stories of New York City's fabled art scene conjure up artists' lofts in SoHo, studios in Brooklyn, and block after block of galleries in Chelsea. But today, no artist can afford a SoHo loft, Brooklyn has long gentrified, and even the galleries of Chelsea are beginning to move on. Art on the Block takes the reader on a journey through the neighborhoods that shape, and are shaped by, New York's ever-evolving art world. Based on interviews with over 150 gallery directors, as well as the artists themselves, art historian and cultural commentator Ann Fensterstock explores the genesis, expansion, maturation and ultimate restless migration of the New York art world from one initially undiscovered neighborhood to the next.

Opening with the colonization of the desolate South Houston Industrial District in the late 1960s, the book follows the art world's subsequent elopements to the East Village in the ‘80s, Brooklyn in the mid-90s, Chelsea at the beginning of the new millennium and, most recently, to the Lower East Side. With a look to the newest neighborhoods that artists are just now beginning to occupy, this is a must-read for both art enthusiasts as well as anyone with a passion for New York City.

About the Author

Ann Fensterstock is an art historian and a collector who serves on boards and committees at several museums and nonprofits in New York City and Washington. She is the author of Art on the Block. She speaks regularly on contemporary art and lives in New York City.

Praise For Art on the Block: Tracking the New York Art World from SoHo to the Bowery, Bushwick and Beyond

“Ann Fensterstock's diligently researched Art on the Block is a must-read for anyone involved or even marginally interested in the New York art world.” —Whitehot Magazine

“Neighborhood loyalties, artists' sense of community, political and legal considerations, gentrification, and the broader social, civic and economic milieu all play a part.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A highly readable introduction to the New York art world.” —Publishers Weekly

“Art on the Block follows an adventurous migration of artists and their galleries from one lower Manhattan neighborhood to another and across the East River to Brooklyn, one step behind drug dealers and the police and one step ahead of lifestyle magazines and real estate developers. Fensterstock shows how gallery owners promote art--and themselves--and in the process, help to make the neighborhoods they inhabit more popular and desirable. But these changes ultimately make areas more expensive, killing the creative process.” —Sharon Zukin, author, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

“Ann Fensterstock has packed her up-to-the minute text with interesting art world facts, from mini-profiles of pioneering gallerists to the current burgeoning Bushwick scene. A comprehensive New York art-scene primer that will also appeal to cognoscenti.” —Phoebe Hoban, author of Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art

“Significant art history in the making. Tracking the energy of New York's contemporary art world that may flag but never vanishes, the book provides an impressive windshield tour through more than half a century of the artists, dealers, entrepreneurs and real estate challenges of the contemporary art world.” —Alexandra Anderson Spivy, writer, critic and former editor in chief of Art & Antiques