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Prudence Peiffer

Prudence Peiffer is an art historian, writer, and editor. She is Managing Editor of the Creative Team at MoMA, New York, where she leads digital content production. She received her Ph.D from Harvard University; following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, she was a Senior Editor at Artforum magazine (2012-2017), and Digital Content Director at David Zwirner (2018). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books online, Artforum, and Bookforum, among other publications. She is currently writing a book about the artists of Coenties Slip in 1950s-60s New York for Harper.

Ad Reinhardt: Slides

While Reinhardt is best known as a painter of reductive, dark abstract canvases, he had a life-long interest in photography.

The Historical Present: Collective Solitude at Coenties Slip

For the past five years I’ve been consumed by the story of a group of artists who lived and worked from 1956–1967 in nineteenth-century sailmaking and maritime lofts on a three-block radius at the southern tip of Manhattan, near the Battery and South Street seaport. They were a motley crew who all came from outside of the city and settled (illegally) into rough but cheap open spaces on Coenties Slip, one of New York’s oldest streets. Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Youngerman had just returned from Paris, carrying with them a legacy of abstraction but also an ambition to paint something new. Agnes Martin arrived from the southwest, already thinking of how the city’s landscape could structure her compositions. Lenore Tawney was starting over after another life in Chicago, eager to continue inventing ways to expand a loom’s capacities.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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