Clayton Patterson, artist, photographer, videographer, historian

Clayton Patterson (born 1948) is a Canadian-born artist, photographer, videographer, member of the No! Art movement and folk historian. He moved to New York City in 1979 and focused almost exclusively on documenting the art, life and times of the Lower East Side in Manhattan. In 1972, his partner, Rensaa gave him his first camera and in 1980 he began photographing life in the Lower East Side of New York City. In 1985, Patterson began photographing kids from the neighborhood in front of his front door. Over the years, he has taken hundreds of photos, and displaying them on his “Hall of Fame” in… Read More

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Arthur Wood, Broken Angel House

Brooklyn artist Arthur Wood purchased a 4-story brick tenement building in 1979 for $2,000 in the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy neighborhood. He proceeded to add on to the building with his wife Cynthia over the next 27 years. The house was a mix of pieces from various projects and Arthur had a camera obscura on the top area and a room that looked like it floated in the air. The inside was like a huge cathedral with arches and colorful “stained glass windows” that were made from the remains of bottles and glass. (I looked out my bedroom window and saw the house… Read More

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William Dunlap, Artist, manager of Park Theater

William Dunlap (1766 – 1839) was a pioneer of American theater. He was a producer, playwright, and actor, as well as a historian. He was an artistic painter and managed two of New York City’s earliest and most prominent theaters, the John Street Theatre (from 1796–98) and the Park Theatre (from 1798–1805). In 1783, he produced a portrait of George Washington, now owned by the United States Senate. He studied in Europe for a few years, but returned to New York in 1787 and worked exclusively in the theater for 18 years, returning to painting only when economically necessary. He produced more than sixty plays, most adaptations or translations… Read More

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Mark di Suervo, artist, Socrates Sculpture Park

Marco Polo “Mark” di Suvero (born September 18, 1933) is an abstract expressionist sculptor and 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient. He was born in China, but his family moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II. He went to San Francisco City College and the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied art and learned sculpture making after leaving his philosophy major behind. He eventually graduated from UC Berkley which a degree in philosophy, but concentrated on sculpture. After graduating from college, di Suvero moved to New York City in 1957 to pursue a sculpting art career. He worked part-time in construction and began… Read More

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Gertrude Drick, poet

On January 23, 1917, a group of artists, led by Gertrude Drick, snuck into the Washington Arch in Washington Square Park, climbed the spiral staircase that leads to its roof, and had a drunken picnic there; they also tied paper lanterns and balloons to the arch, and recited poetry. They declared Greenwich Village “The Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square”. Drick was an artist and poet. She had come to Greenwich Village from Texas to study under painter John Sloan. She had gained notoriety in the Village under the self-imposed nickname ‘Woe’, so that when asked her name she would respond ‘Woe… Read More

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Sunny Balzano, bar owner

Mr. Balzano owned Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook Brooklyn. The bar became the center of the community in the area with Sunny overseeing the activity for 2+ decades. Sunny was many things including a boxer, an aircraft mechanic, a jeweler, a spiritual pilgrim to the Far East, a classical actor, a landscape muralist, a painter leaning toward the avant-garde, a collagist, a guitarist aligned with Djangoism, and, eventually, a bartender. He became a bartender after taking over the bar in 1994 on the death of his uncle. When he took over, he decided the bar would only be open on… Read More

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James Montgomery Flagg, illustrator, Uncle Sam

James Montgomery Flagg (June 18, 1877 – May 27, 1960) was an American artist and illustrator. He worked in media ranging from fine art painting to cartooning, but is best remembered for his political posters. He began drawing while quite young and had illustrations accepted by national magazines by the age of 12 years. He created his most famous work in 1917, a poster to encourage recruitment in the United States Army during World War I. It showed Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer (inspired by a British recruitment poster showing Lord Kitchener in a similar pose) with the caption… Read More

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