Uncovered!: Robert Motherwell, Abstract Expressionist Master, South of Union Square

 61 Fourth Avenue (top, center) and Motherwell’s “The Voyage” 

Village Preservation’s ongoing efforts to document, celebrate, and protect the incredibly rich but endangered history and buildings of the area of Greenwich Village and the East Village South of Union Square has uncovered a new fascinating find: Abstract Expressionist trailblazer Robert Motherwell had his studio in the neighborhood at 61 Fourth Avenue during a critical phase of his career — read our research and letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission here. Amazingly, Motherwell’s time here is just one small part of this building’s incredible historic significance. And Motherwell is just one of dozens of great painters who called this area home, and one of scores of great artists, writers, publishers, musicians, activists, and civil rights leaders and organizations who changed the world from here.

We’re engaged in a pitched, ongoing battle to secure landmark protections for this area, which faces extreme development pressure and which Councilmember Carlina Rivera promised to protect when she voted for the adjacent Tech Hub upzoning, increasing that pressure, but then failed to do. We’ve made some important progress, but we still have a long way to go.

Learn more about South of Union Square history and preservation efforts here and here.

February 3, 2021