PRINT October 1999

East Side Story

WHEN I CALLED THE HOLLY SOLOMON GALLERY in SoHo in 1997 to ask about their 1985 East Village show, the man who answered the phone was aghast. “What are you doing?” he asked incredulously. “Nobody talks about the East Village anymore, nobody. People are taking it off their résumés.” After several years of conducting research, I had come to expect this kind of response. My informants often laughed at the very idea of writing a doctoral dissertation on the East Village art scene of the ’80s. At the same time, they sized up its promotional potential. Was I writing a book? When would it be published? Nobody was talking, but everyone had a story to tell.

Though I’m an outsider, I have my own East Village story. In 1986 I visited my friend Sheila Hoban, who worked at the Frick Art Reference Library and put up exhibitions in her apartment on Second Avenue. It was Valentine’s Day. A light snow was

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