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Tom Warren : New York delirium


Tom Warren has remained one of the most important witnesses of the 1980s in New York City. During this period the city was marked by high crime and the AIDS crisis. However, the economy was booming, and the wealthy could afford a life of bawdiness and decadence.

With his portraits of the people and life of New York and more particularly of the East Village Warren has created memories and documents of this time. This monograph presents his photographs from this period, bringing to life a bygone decade.

The artist critically addresses issues such as Manhattan politics, its progressive gentrification, and the social classes that benefited from a hedonistic lifestyle.

Artificial light flows on sprawling bodies most often taken from the front or in situation in the blurring of scales of representation within the same frame.

But sometimes that light is almost hurtful. It doesn’t necessarily glorify the body. It remains at the border of representation in order to create various types of questions.

The visual transcription gives a concrete idea of ​​how the artist links the facticity of festive nights to the density of urban material (whatever its nature) and to the curve it imposes on reality.

It is no longer a physical border that we could touch, but a geometric border of space-time which continues to be deform by – as we said above by the effect of scales but also of holes in the walls of the perceptible.


Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret


Tom Warren, « The 1980s Art Scene in New York »

Hatje Cantz, Berlin, 2021

320 p. 250 ills.

ISBN 978-3-7757-5181-0

€ 64.00 

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