New Online Exhibition:
Finger-Paint Portraits, Tin Pan Alley, 1981-82
Cara Perlman’s finger-paint portraits spotlight a moment in the early 1980s when Times Square took its place alongside the Lower East Side and the South Bronx as a New York neighborhood important to artists. Many of the portraits are of Perlman’s friends in Collaborative Projects Inc. (COLAB), an artist group that in the summer of 1980 organized the now-famous Times Square Show in which Perlman participated. Others are of Times Square locals who frequented Tin Pan Alley, a basement bar located near the TSS show, which became popular with artists, and where Perlman worked as a bartender.
Perlman’s goal to make a vital art connected to real life was shared by other young artists working in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her portraits present some of the key players of this new generation and remind us of the important role played by Tin Pan Alley, a bar that rose to maturity in the wake of the Times Square Show and extended the creative discourse that began there. Painted directly from life these finger paint portraits can be admired for their expressive vitality and virtuosity. This online exhibition includes portraits of Tin Pan Alley founder Maggie Smith, bartender Nan Goldin, cookKiki Smith and other artists connected to the bar.