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Prudence Peiffer

The Artists of Coenties Slip

The Evening Lecture Series is free and open to the public. With inquiries, please contact Kara Carmack at kcarmack@nyss.org.

Ellsworth Kelly, “Coenties Slip,” 1957, postcard collage, 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. Private Collection. © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Coenties Slip—an obscure little street at the lower tip of Manhattan overlooking the East River—was home to several extraordinary, then-struggling artists: Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, Delphine Seyrig, Lenore Tawney, and Jack Youngerman. For just over a decade, this street of dilapidated sail-making lofts and maritime warehouses would serve as the unlikely site of eclectic and influential works of art and spark a singular moment of community and creativity. In the group biography The Slip, Prudence Peiffer pays homage to the locale that inspired this singular group of artists and changed the course of American art. This talk will explore the long history of one of the oldest streets in New York, the work that these artists made at the Slip from the wreckage of the city’s many former lives, and how we are shaped by our environment and how it in turn shapes our work.

“The Slip: The New York City Street that Changed American Art Forever,” by Prudence Peiffer.

 

Prudence Peiffer is an art historian, writer, and editor, specializing in modern and contemporary art. She is Director of Content at MoMA, New York. She received her PhD from Harvard University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, she was a Senior Editor at Artforum magazine from 2012-2017, and Digital Content Director at David Zwirner in 2018. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Artforum, and Bookforum, among other publications. Her book THE SLIP: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Foreverwas longlisted for the National Book Award.

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