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PRINT October 1976

The Apotheosis of the Crummy Space

JUST ACROSS THE 59TH STREET bridge from Manhattan, in a rundown neighborhood now given over mostly to factories and warehouses, stands an 1890s red brick building known as Public School 1. Abandoned since 1963 and far down the list of preservationists’ worries, P.S.1 was slated to go the way of so many of its Victorian architectural contemporaries. But the Institute for Art and Urban Resources, whose weighty title masks a very uninstitutional function, got wind of its impending demise and swung into action.

The institute, brainchild of Alanna Heiss, cuts through municipal red tape to cadge unused city buildings for exhibition, studio and performance space.The operation was inspired by an artists’ workspace project at St. Katharine’s Dock in London which Ms. Heiss had a hand in; it began in 1970 as an alternative to slick, clean (expensive) space for artists, and has spawned some bizarre

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