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Download Soho: The Rise and Fall of an Artist's Colony epub

by Richard Kostelanetz

Soho: The Rise and Fall documents how a little-known industrial neighborhood in New York became, through one of the accidents of history, a nexus of creative activity for a brief but intensive period. Such an ideal situation--entirely unplanned--could not last forever; the author shows how market forces squeezed out this art utopia, to be replaced by a shadow of its former self.
Download Soho: The Rise and Fall of an Artist's Colony epub
ISBN: 0415965721
ISBN13: 978-0415965729
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Richard Kostelanetz
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (May 9, 2003)
Pages: 264 pages
ePUB size: 1727 kb
FB2 size: 1792 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 735
Other Formats: rtf lrf rtf azw

Richard Kostelanetz has created a unique detailed study of the entire SoHo art scene's Rise & Fall, along with photos. Besides an authoritative, detailed narrative -- it's a great detailed study of every aspect of SoHo's evolution & demise by an a great author who settled there from the very beginning & took pains in getting to know just how it came together. in many dimension Richard clearly records every aspect in a knowing, cogent, narrative form through 2003. This is it! There can be no other. Take it from one who was also there. Bill Rabinovitch 2011
Great info about a wonderful part of the city I remember so well. Sadly SOHO is not the same but this was an enjoyable walk down memory lane for me.
Kostelanetz lived in SoHo in one of the industrial rehabs. He lived in this artists community that grew out of a abandoned fabrication building. This district had been unwelcoming to artists who wanted to work and live in these large lofts. The book covers the rule changes that permitted artists to retrofit the empty floors they wanted to inhabit. This documentarist tale describes all the players and shakers who made this area a growing social milieu for theater, arts and style development. Also covered in this very concise, authoritative, history are the rules that were broke that helped form this budding frontier of artists in SoHo. The rules again went un-followed to make available these artists' lofts for the wealthier buyers move-in on the bountiful space the artists had found. The well healed new owners have will not be held to inflate the creative spirit that the artists had enlivened.
Author Kostelanetz was a long-time Soho resident and writes a personal account about the history of Soho as an artist's neighborhood. The most interesting parts of the book are the beginning in which he describes Soho's slow transformation from a daytime industrial district into the thriving artist colony it was to become. I lived in lower Manhattan for much of the same period and can recall many of the people and places he describes.

The problem with this book is that there is no story, no narrative trajectory, no structure. The chapters appear to be loosley based on certain themes, although even those are hard to discern at times. There's nothing chronological; it's just a rambling collection of reminiscences with no cohesion or thread to hold it together or make it engaging. The author's nostalgic point of view (criticized in the Publisher's Weekly review above) would be fine if he stayed with it and honed in on it; but as is, it's just an uneven mish-mash of nostalgia and memories weaving in and out of splatterings of facts, with no order or trajectory. I have to honestly say I only got halfway through this book, so it may have improved by the end. But it just wasn't worth it for me to force myself through what felt like literary packing peanuts when there's so much other good stuff out there to read.

It needn't be this way. For example, Legs McNeil authored an excellent history of punk rock taking place mostly in New York at about the same time as this book (see "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk" elsewhere on The latter shows that a recent period of New York history can be conveyed in oral remembrances in a way that both informs and captivates the reader. Such an approach would have taken more labor and forethought -- something that is sorely lacking in this volume.