Press Release: NEVER ABOVE 14TH ST

NEW YORK – 2 MARCH 2023 – PhillipsX is pleased to announce a selling exhibition focusing on the 1980s and 1990s East Village art scene in New York. On view from 8 – 22 March at 432 Park Avenue, Never Above 14th St. features a wide variety of well known ‘80s and ‘90s New York City artists, including Dondi White, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Crash, and others.

While Uptown Art Circles of the time focused on the intellectual limits of Minimalism and Conceptualism, the Downtown crowd concentrated on personal expression, politics, and the energy of the city. Scott Nussbaum, Deputy Chairman, Americas, and Senior International Specialist, said “Downtown New York was the epicenter of avant-garde Art and Culture in the 1980s and 1990s. Below 14th Street, artists mingled politics, poetry, identity, and angst into new and profound expressions of creativity. Transcending labels such as ‘primitive’, ‘graffiti’, or ‘street’ artists, this generation shattered stereotypes and disrupted art world traditions by eschewing uptown erudition in favor of a much more transgressive, radical, and contemporary visual language. City streets, abandoned buildings, artist’s collectives, Nightclubs, and Galleries such as The Fun Gallery, Gracie Mansion, and Civilian Warfare offered platforms for this extraordinary art to emerge, which, with remarkable prescience, continues to steer the course of Contemporary Art and Culture today.”

Never Above 14th Street: a downtown NYC art show honors and celebrates the vibrant art scene of Downtown New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, out of the intoxicating blend of low rent, open space, artistic community, and a freewheeling atmosphere that defined Downtown, this generation of Artists emerged with unprecedented energy. And, as artist collectives such as Fashion Moda and Colab formed, along with night club/gallery spaces such as Wednesday at A’s, The Mudd Club, and Club 57, so too did inspired young gallerists such as Patti Astor, Bill Stelling, Gracie Mansion, Barry Blinderman, Hal Bromm, and many others. There, in awkward, run down and often tiny storefronts, art galleries exhibited names such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Martin Wong, Keith Haring, Futura, Crash, Lady Pink, David Wojnarowicz, Dondi White, and Mike Bidlo, among others, long before they became Cultural Icons and Art History. Many of the artists whose work flowed through these Downtown hot spots began their careers painting on subway trains and helped develop the potent fusion of public gesture, post-Pop sensibility, and semicriminal status that became such a powerful lure to artists of the era. Never Above 14th Street brings together a group of artists who went from painting on subway trains, to showing in these tiny pulsing spaces and emerged as big names of their time. All shared the fervent desire to create, inherently transforming the Downtown of New York City into a shared canvas.