New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spring Studio

Thousands walk by this nondescript red doorway everyday with barely a glance. The small bulletin board on the right side is certainly not enough to stop anyone at 64 Spring Street, a central thoroughfare in SoHo (technically 1/2 block east of the historic district), surrounded by places like Kate's Paperie, the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) shop and Balthazar.
But then, Minerva Durham, director of Spring Studio, is not looking for street traffic and to have a location like this in 2008 is quite a coup. I think it is fair to call SoHo a former art district. There are vestiges - a few galleries and artists remain. Places like Spring Studio are virtually nonexistent here. Essentially SoHo is an upscale neighborhood and shopping district.
Spring Studio was started in 1992 by Minerva and offers life drawing and classes 7 days per week. Minerva was cordial and granted me permission to take a photo downstairs, but only when I assured her I would shoot down the corridor to the classroom area from behind a chain and small sign reading "PLEASE WAIT HERE" - see my photo here. Around the corner is a live model, nude or clothed. Students are attentive and focused on their work. Many artists consider this studio to be a great city resource and the best figure drawing studio in New York City - see their website here.
This is exactly the type New Yorkers love to find when looking for those "secret" places. No frills or window dressing - a business driven only by the merit and quality of what it does or offers. A place where the proprietors have reduced the establishment to its essentials and stripped everything else away.
That is not to say that places of merit must be this way or that places that have created a lavish environment are not places of merit (see Kate's Paperie). It is partially an issue of economics - how much can an art studio afford to spend on decor (and why should they?) - and it's also an issue of style. New Yorkers can be very practical and often champion the practical and the reduction to bare essentials as evidence of authenticity. I wrote of this in my article on Anthora, the famous Greek paper coffee cup (also see Very Practical). Having a New York egg cream while standing in a crowded newsstand (Gem's Spa) just seems more authentic. And painting in a basement after going through an unmarked door and descending an unassuming staircase feels just like the kind of place where an artist should be drawing...

2 comments:

Blognote said...

I like this photo very much for its composition and its colours!!

Brian Dubé said...

thanks - it's amazing how you can go by this place numerous times and not notice it.