Living in New York, I think it is really important to understand the way art shaped and influenced the city. “New York Mid-Century” is the perfect book to comprehend how and why the city became the cultural capital of the world. From 1945 to 1965, New York City went through an intense phase, during which the famous pop-culture aroused. The publication is divided into three big chapters, each one written by a different art lover.
Annie Cohen-Sola chose to focus on “visual arts” in the first chapter. This best-selling author split the mid-century into seven phases, each one representing a significant step. With the photographs and the helpful explanations, she highlights the epic galleries, the amazing exhibitions and all the artists that made everything possible, from Jasper Johns to Andy Warhol.
Who better than Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger to give us a retrospective of what architecture and design was like back in the mid-century? He amazingly tells the story of some of the iconic buildings in city, like Grand Central or the Guggenheim Museum.
Last but not least, Robert Gottlieb, dance critic of The New York Observer, brought all the performing arts together. Dance, theater and the nightlife (including Jazz, Cabaret and nightclubs) are in turns explained with amazing vintage photographs. All those performances added a slice of entertainment in the New Yorkers’ life, proving that art isn’t always something you look at, it is also something you can be part of.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning how New York City and the different types of art are all related: it is easy to read and all the illustrations are simply amazing.