The Forgotten History of Coenties Slip with Prudence Peiffer

The Forgotten History of Coenties Slip with Prudence Peiffer

Join Prudence Peiffer, author of THE SLIP: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever for a virtual talk on the history of Coenties Slip!
  • Uncover the overlooked history of Coenties Slip, one of New York City’s oldest streets
  • Trace the evolution of this historic street from its origins as a colonial Dutch port to when it served as a haven for mid-century artists of Manhattan
  • Discover the Slip’s ties to legendary people and events, from the Titanic to Harry Houdini

About the event:

In this talk, Prudence Peiffer will give a whirlwind history of Coenties Slip, one of the oldest streets in New York City and the unlikely home of a group of artists in the 1950s and ’60s. Those artists–Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, Delphine Seyrig, Lenore Tawney, and Jack Youngerman–were just at the beginning of their careers when they moved into illegal nineteenth-century sail-making lofts in an out-of-the-way corner of Manhattan, but their artistic breakthroughs there would go on to change art.

Despite Coenties Slip’s obscurity, an entire history of the city was inscribed into its cobblestones: from the enslaved people who built it up to the home for sailors with a lighthouse dedicated to the Titanic, from seventeenth century Dutch settlers to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, from ducking stools for dunking unrestrained “ladies” in the East River to Harry Houdini embarking from its pier to perform a major escape stunt, from George Washington to Khrushchev, and the downtown development battles of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. Building on her book The Slip, just out from Harper, Peiffer will talk about the art made at the Slip from the wreckage of the city’s many former lives, and how we are shaped by our environment and how it in turn shapes our work.

About Prudence Peiffer

Prudence Peiffer is an art historian, writer, and editor, specializing in modern and contemporary art. She is Managing Editor of the Creative Team at MoMA, New York. She received her PhD from Harvard University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, she was a Senior Editor at Artforum magazine from 2012-2017, and Digital Content Director at David Zwirner in 2018. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Artforum, and Bookforum, among other publications. She is the author of THE SLIP: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever (Harper, August 1, 2023).

Attendees will receive a link to join the webinar after completing the registration.

Image credits

Header Image: Hand colored engraving of export and import traffic at Coenties Slip, New York (Charles Magnus & Company, 1850–1900). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954. 

Headshot by Charles Fulford

THE SLIP Book Cover Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers

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