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During the 1980s, New York City teemed with cultural activity—and new venues and mediums for art. Rough-hewn streets still bore the traces of the economic collapse of the 1970s, and many artists responded to urban blight, economic inequality, and the first wave of the AIDS pandemic. At the same time, artists took on the glittering excesses of commodity culture—in a city seen as the finance capital of the world—and the global expansion of the art market. Some, such as Sherrie Levine, even forecasted the end of art itself. Creating work for a growing network of galleries, studios, and storefronts, these artists engaged their local communities and neighborhoods, but they also probed their own personal and private lives. They depicted their friends and lovers, their anxieties and desires—and invented new forms of sculpture and image-making for a changing landscape.

17 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

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