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New York City has long been a hub for creative minds from a wide variety of disciplines. These minds all feed off each other, dispersing inspiration throughout their respective communities. Fine Art is no exception. The city itself has proven to be an innovative and strong force even at the international level.


Distinctly New York Art

In the years after World War II, a group of young New York artists known as the New York School formed the first truly original school of painting in America that exerted a major influence on foreign artists: abstract expressionism. Among the movement's leaders were Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), Willem de Kooning (1904–1997), and Mark Rothko (1903–1970). The abstract expressionists abandoned formal composition and representation of real objects to concentrate on instinctual arrangements of space and color and to demonstrate the effects of the physical action of painting on the canvas.

New York's vibrant visual art scene in the 1950s and 1960s also defined the American pop art movement. Members of this next artistic generation favored a different form of abstraction: works of mixed media. Among them were Jasper Johns (1930- ), who used photos, newsprint, and discarded objects in his compositions. Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol (1930–1987), Larry Rivers (1923–2002), and Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), reproduced, with satiric care, everyday objects and images of American popular culture—Coca-Cola bottles, soup cans, comic strips.

Global Art Market

Today New York is a global center for the international art market. The industry is clustered in neighborhoods known for their art galleries, such as Chelsea and SoHo, where dealers representing both established and up-and-coming artists compete for sales with bigger exhibition spaces, better locations, and stronger connections to museums and collectors. Wall Street money and funds from philanthropists flow steadily into the art market, often prompting artists to move from gallery to gallery in pursuit of riches and fame.

Enriching and countering this mainstream commercial movement is the constant flux of underground movements, such as hip-hop art and graffiti, which engendered such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and continue to add visual texture and life to the atmosphere of the city.

Long Island City (LIC) in Queens has a rapidly flourishing art scene in New York City, serving as home to the largest concentration of arts institutions outside of Manhattan. Its abundance of industrial warehouses provides ample studio and exhibition space for many renowned artists, museums and galleries.

Public Art

Further, New York City has a strong commitment to public art. There is a law that stipulates that no less than 1% of the first $20 million of a building project, plus no less than one half of 1% of the amount exceeding $20 million be allocated for art work in any public building that is owned by the city. The maximum allocation for any site is $400k. Therefore, the city has been peppered with fine examples of civic and public art from major artists such as Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, Nam June Paik, and Anish Kapoor.

Urban Art

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Subversive public art trends have also coursed through New York City. Toward the end of the 1960s the modern American graffiti subculture began to form in Philadelphia, 95 miles south of New York. By 1970, the center of graffiti innovation moved from Philadelphia to New York City, where the graffiti art subculture inspired an artistic style and social philosophy dubbed "Zoo York.” The name originated from a subway tunnel running underneath the Central Park Zoo that was the haunt of very early "old school" graffiti writers like ALI (Marc André Edmonds), founder of The Soul Artists. The subway tunnel has become a scene where crews of Manhattan graffiti artists gather at night.
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