The artists world
The original tour featuring the photos of Fred W. McDarrah. Based on a blockbuster photo exhibit of the same name that was on display at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea in 2014. So many individuals and groups came to the show, and there was such a positive media reaction to the exhibition and gallery workers were peppered on a daily basis with so many questions about the photos and the changing face of Greenwich Village....
The exhibition ended, but the interest in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and McDarrah's documentation of the changing scene did not wane one iota. So the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah decided to bring the people not to the gallery, but to the scenes that made the show such a success: the Greenwich Village locales documented by McDarrah during his tenure at the Village Voice – such as Washington Square Park; the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern day gay rights movement; and the various stomping grounds of the individuals he photographed that helped shape the 1960s ethos, including Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix.
LIKE THE SAVE THE VILLAGE TOUR, THE ARTISTS TOUR IS BASED ON ANOTHER GALLERY EXHIBIT, FRED W. MCDARRAH: THE ARTISTS WORLD, AT THE STEVEN KASHER GALLERY IN SPRING 2015.
While Fred W. McDarrah's 250,000-image archive is an encyclopedic catalog of the people, places, movements, trends and events of the New York scene over the second half of the 20th century, his collection of photographs of artists is truly unique and often the sole visual record of a special time and place in the history of American art.
McDarrah's interest in photographing artists can be traced to a 1949 visit to Falmouth, MA, a town on Cape Cod. Through a mutual friend, he was introduced that summer to painter William Littlefield (1902-1969). Littlefield, who came from a wealthy family, had studied in Paris, counted Mrs. John D. Rockefeller among his first patrons and was a window into a world McDarrah, who came from poverty and matriculated on the streets of Brooklyn, had never previously seen.
Beginning in the 1940s, Littlefield and sculptor Philip Pavia hosted informal gatherings at The Club, an artist membership association that first met at the old Waldorf Cafeteria, at 6th Avenue and 8th Street. Over the years, the Club moved to Broadway, to East 14th Street, to 10th Street and 4th Avenue, to 2nd Avenue, to St. Marks Place, and finally to Mercer Street, not far from its original home. The Club hosted seminars, panels, parties, talks, readings and other events where artists of the day would share and exchange ideas and opinions. The Club and its activities were central to the creation of the Abstract Expressionist movement and The New York School. Many of The Club's members lived and worked within a few blocks of its doors: Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Ad Reinhardt, James Brooks, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jack Tworkov, Alfred Leslie, Milton Resnick, Lee Krasner, Philip Guston, William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Nicholas Krushenick and Adolph Gottlieb.
At Littlefield's invitation, McDarrah attended events at The Club and eventually became the doorman and keeper of the mailing list, cultivating relationships with many of the member artists. Often, he'd have his camera and unobtrusively document the world of the artists he had become a part of.
On some occasions, a non-artist with a connection to The Club attended an event, such as Jack Kerouac, who did a cameo on the drums at the 1958 New Year's Eve party.
Sensing the cultural importance of the moment, McDarrah then decided to capture all he could with his camera, which resulted in the seminal 1961 book, The Artist's World in Pictures (text by Gloria McDarrah, Introduction by Thomas B. Hess, EP Dutton, New York 204 pages.
After that, the next generation of artists - including Pop icons Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Dan Flavin, John Chamberlain, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist - often sought out McDarrah and coverage in theVillage Voice, where McDarrah had a day job as an advertising salesman and was the staff photographer. Warhol would often call McDarrah at home in the early days, hoping he would take his photo and use it in the Voice, one of the few periodicals giving serious early coverage to the Pop genre - and to women artists. McDarrah's archive also includes classic images of Marisol, Eva Hesse, Yayoi Kusma, Carolee Schneemann, Rosalyn Drexler, Hanna Wilke, Niki de Saint Phalle, Marisol, Faith Ringgold, Alice Neel and Marjorie Strider.
TOUR GROUP meets outside of 420 west broadway
between prince and spring sts.
PLEASE ARRIVE 10 MINUTES BEFORE SCHEDULED TIME
CONTACT INFO@SAVETHEVILLAGETOURS.COM FOR GROUP DISCOUNTS
WALKING TOURS THROUGH THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF FRED W. MCDARRAH
Greenwhich Village walking tours like no other! See where history was recorded by the original Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah - the most curious, knowledgeable and defatigable chronicler of the New York downtown scene over the second half of the 20th century! Before the Internet, there was McDarrah. He captured all of the artsts, writers, musicians and social movements that marked the time.
Each guest recieves a keepsake multi-postcard set of classic McDarrah images and the tours go to the same locations to see how they have changed, how they are the same, and to hear the stories behind the famous photos.