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112 Greene- Inspiration from Squalor

The pioneers of the SoHo pioneers, 112 Greene Street was the first artist collective gallery space, opened in an old rag salvaging factory in the early 1970s. All artists who could set up and dismantle their own exhibitions were welcome, with  notables like my favorite Gordon Matta-Clark, Vito Acconci, Willoughby Sharp and Richard Serra.


The space (owned by Jeffrey Lew and his wife who used the rest of the 6 story cast iron building as their studio and home) was more of a pile than a gallery, known for its unfinished floors, crumbling walls, holes in the floor, piles of rust- basically a catalyst for the notion that anything goes. Artists took inspiration from the decrepit destruction. Matta-Clark grew a cherry tree in the dim basement using artificial lights, Richard Serra collaborated on a video project before he was defined by Cor-ten steel, splinters and smells became the medium for installations, performances and movements. This was a time when creativity was still pure, when artists made something out of nothing, instead of playing squalor while their parents foot the bill. Art was truly free, and it was only when money became involved that the creativity was killed. The space eventually became the first site of White Columns and is now the epicenter of retail.


Read more about it in Jessamyn Fiore’s incredible book.

Who: Gordon Matta-Clark, Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, Jeffrey Lew

What: Pioneering artist run space

Where: 112 Greene Street

2 Responses to “112 Greene- Inspiration from Squalor”
  1. Is this the same space that was an artist squat in 2005 called ‘The Greene House’?

  2. Lori Zimmer says:

    i don’t think- this became White Columns not long after . then the disney world it is now

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