My BOOKS

 
Engaging Art

In sixty essays, reported from around the globe, this book reveals new dimensions about how artists make their art, resist censorship and retain an independent, creative spirit.

 

Focusing on under-the-radar subjects, the reports, interviews, and essays illuminate the pain and pleasures of artistic production and the challenges faced by artists, curators, and gallerists.

 

The essays ask and answer several crucial questions: How do artists in Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin and South America find space to live and work? How do artists follow their talent to make and exhibit original art in a world a politicized world where artistic freedom is often limited? How do smaller artistic venues survive the economic pressures and competition in the art market?

 

The book explores the tangled texture of the art world, a curious and mysterious space.

 
Illegal Living

Illegal Living is the story of the building at 80 Wooster Street in New York and the people who lived and worked there. The first of 16 artists’ coops started by George Maciunas, founder of the Fluxus art movement, Fluxhouse Coop II spurred the development of SoHo and the spread of worldwide loft conversions.

 

Using archival finds, extensive interviews, architectural expertise, and first-person accounts, the authors reveal the myriad ways that the legal formalities and unavoidable business decisions of a live-work cooperative were shaped on a daily basis. The artists of SoHo, while focused on their art, also built community, participating in the creation of a new form of residential development.

 

The building was a magnet for the avant-garde who were drawn to Jonas Mekas’ Cinematheque, a ground-floor space that hosted happenings, film screenings, dance and theater performances, concerts, and art shows. Hundreds of artists including Trisha Brown, Richard Foreman, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, John Lennon, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, and Andy Warhol showed their work in and around the building.

 

Illegal Living’s intimate portrait of a single building over 40 years highlights the complexity of an artist coop and puts into question any simple take on who wins and who loses when neighborhoods change.  The artists who lived and worked at 80 Wooster played major roles in music, film, and the fine and performing arts. Their shared story is unique and compelling.

 
Boardwalk Stories

Boardwalk Stories is a collection of fourteen linked tales spanning the decades 1950-1970 which invite us into the private lives of the colorful denizens of communities like Coney Island, Long Beach, the Jersey shore, and the California beach towns.

Set in the shadow of the Cold War, the boardwalk characters, many of them misfits and wannabes, share their joys and sorrows in a world where kewpie dolls and prizes are often the only consolations for lost dreams. Included in the cast are Beverly the Queen of the Skeeball arcade, Jollie Trixie the fat lady, Arnold the king of Playworld, Miss Lydia the famous ballerina, and Joey the orphan.

Each story is paired with a vintage black-and-white boardwalk photograph capturing the mood after World War II when a day out meant breathing in the bracing salt air and feeding coins into the machines at the penny arcade.

For any inquiries, please contact Roslyn Bernstein

© 2020 by Roslyn Bernstein

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