The Social Geography of Village Housing in the Sixties:
Westbeth, Private Developers and Public Housing for Artists: A lecture with Jeffrey Trask

Jeffrey Trask, Assistant Professor of History, Georgia State University, looks back at the west Village in the 1960s to ask how the once dis-invested waterfront neighborhood of run-down piers, abandoned warehouses and empty storefronts developed into the gentrified landscape of luxury lofts, architect-branded buildings, and fashionable bars, restaurants and boutiques of today. Trask looks at various proposals for housing along the waterfront, and explains how a fairly radical idea at the time of converting factories into artist lofts sparked a revolution in ideas about the arts, urban planning and private real estate development.

Professor Trask is a historian of American cultural and intellectual history with a specialization in cities and the arts. His book Things American: Art Museums and Civic Culture in the Progressive Era (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) examines a movement in the early twentieth century that put art museums at the center of the cultural politics of the Progressive Era, using museum objects as models of good design to influence the physical environment of cities. His current research looks at the history of industrial aesthetics, examining the relationship between industry and labor, reformers and working-class families and the architects and engineers who developed landscapes of industrial capitalism. “’The Loft Cause’ or ‘Bohemia Gone Bourgeois’? Artist Housing and Private Development in Greenwich Village” (Journal of Urban History, 2015) examines the history of the Westbeth Arts Center – the first large-scale institutional conversion of industrial spaces into artist lofts.

Thursday, March 3, 2016
6:30 pm

Westbeth Community Room, 155 Bank Street, between West Street and Washington Street