Tracing the Disappearance of New York City’s Live/Work Artists’ Lofts

July 14, 2016

The New York City artist’s loft is arguably among the most romanticized and coveted living spaces in the world. It has been used as a backdrop for avant-garde films by Andy Warhol, the central scene of a musical (yes, we’re talking about Rent), and more recently, as the focus of several museum shows (for example, the Whitney’s 2013 exhibit, Rituals of Rented Island). When one thinks about a New York City artist’s loft, what likely comes to mind is an open, expansive, and unequivocally cool space—a space where anything is possible. While this may have been true at one point in the city’s history, in 2016, the artist’s loft is neither readily affordable nor easily attainable. This raises the obvious question: Why?


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