Audio Download: Downtown at The Cedar Tavern
Friday, October 01, 2010
For the Abstract Expressionists – many of whom lived downtown and worked downtown – there was one place (and one place only) to go talk shop and raise hell. That place was the Cedar Tavern, a nondescript bar on University Place and 8th Street that became so legendary, it has since appeared in the obituaries of just about every artist who hung out there. This was where Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and a host of other figures came together over glasses of 15-cent beer.
But the bar wasn’t just a bar, it was the center of a rising artists community which was made possible by a surfeit of empty lofts and cheap rent. It wasn’t an easy life, but it was a creative one. In this audio download, we examine the bar’s position at the center of a changing downtown Manhattan landscape.
Interviewed in this piece (in order of appearance) are:
- Irving Sandler, long-time New York art critic and author of "A Sweeper-Up After Artists"
- Steven Naifeh, co-author of "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga"
- Jed Perl, author of "New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century"
- Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art
Vintage audio of Robert Motherwell was kindly provided by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, from the series "Artist Talks: Reel to Reel," recorded on January 31, 1985 in New York City.
The music featured includes:
- "Moon Glow," written by George T. Simon, performed by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra (1934)
- "I Gotta Right to sing the Blues," written by Arlen/Koehler performed by Billie Holiday (1939)
- "Totem Ancestor," written by John Cage (1942), performed by Kronos Quartet
- "I Don't Want Your Millions, Mister (All I Want)," written by Jim Garland, performed by The Almanac Singers (1941)
- "Groovin' High," written by Dizzy Gillespie, performed by Dizzy Gillespie - Charlie Parker Quintet (1945)