The Warhol Economy, by Elizabeth Currid

Book review by Eric Miller

At the time he turned forty the painter Martin Johnson Heade had yet to produce a distinguished painting. In 1859 he rented a studio in New York ‘s Tenth Street Studio building and changed his fate. His contact with other members of the Hudson River School radically improved his work. Unfortunately Heade later moved to Florida and was all but forgotten.

New York wasn’t the center of the art world in the 1850s it is today, but Heade’s story shows that New York was well on its way to being a place where people make things happen. In turn, the city makes people happen.

Leaving Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol also went to New York. Unlike Heade, Warhol never left New York and is never to be forgotten. Like Warhol’s Factory, the Tenth Street Studio of the Hudson River painters allowed Heade to meet other painters, as New York allowed artists to meet people of other professions, with divergent expertise, at random, that helped their career. Except if going to New York is a purposeful act, it might not be as random as we might assume.

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