Art, Architecture and Capital Flows - Stephen Zacks

Photography room - Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Wednesday 30 May 2018 (16:00-17:30)

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll at 

Based on seven years of research and more than 100 interviews with founders of institutions in Lower Manhattan from the 1960s through the 80s, this lecture re-examines the formation of artists' communities and generative aesthetic practices in New York City and their relation to capital formation and real estate development.


Questioning the assumptions perpetuated by the formative example of SoHo in the 1970s, it brings into relief the planning and policy contexts and economic drivers that underpinned the transformation of New York City from the post-war era to today. Throughout this period, an argument emerged about the potential to think of culture as a form of embedded capital; the lecture looks at the limits of contemporary experiments in applying socially engaged design to intentionally reallocate resources in the absence of supportive state and local policies. 

Stephen Zacks is an architecture critic, urbanist, and curator based in New York City working at the intersection of journalism, social research, and critical practice. A graduate of Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research, he founded Flint Public Art Project and serves as president of the nonprofit Amplifier Inc., a platform for socially engaged art and design in under-served cities.

He previously served as an editor at Metropolis, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Art in America, Hyperallergic, Abitare, Landscape Architecture Magazine, The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Monocle, Blueprint, Mic, Curbed, and Print.

His projects have received awards from the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, ArtPlace, National Endowment for the Arts, Graham Foundation, MacDowell Colony, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Newtown Creek Fund. He is currently writing a cultural history of New York City up to and after the mid-1970s fiscal crisis, I Won’t Go Back: Art, Architecture, and Capital Flows in the Ruins of New York, 1956-1989, tracking the influence of artists’ communities on neighborhood change in light of the wildly inflationary city that it turns out financial leaders planned to create all along.

Please see our Event Flyer or contact Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll at to find out more.

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