'Williamsburg Is Over,' Says Art Writer James Kalm

the new bohemia june 22 1992 'Williamsburg Is Over,' Says Art Writer James Kalm

"The New Bohemia: Over the Bridge to Williamsburg." The cover of New York's June 22, 1992, issue. (Photo: NYMag)

“It’s like a working-class hick town,” the artist Collier Schorr said of Williamsburg, in a 1992 New York piece on the neighborhood, which was handsomely titled “The New Bohemia.”

Of course, a lot has changed over the past 20 years.

James Kalm, a pseudonym of painter Loren Munk, puts it simply in this month’s issue of The Brooklyn Rail: “Williamsburg is over.”

Mr. Kalm, who has made a name for himself as an indefatigable chronicler of the New York art scene for years, explains:

“[O]ne might say Williamsburg died quietly in its sleep, the victim of age, ennui, and unrestricted developers, without ever reaching its hoped-for potential.”

Williamsburg has not become a thriving cultural capital, Mr. Kalm argues, because it never received the major institutional support that some other neighborhoods–namely Long Island City–did. And though a few major Chelsea dealers operated in the neighborhood for a brief time (he cites Jeffrey Deitch and Leo Koenig), they didn’t stick around. The writer once more:

“There’s certainly a set of Darwinian survival skills bred into the artists and galleries spawned here, but until serious commitments are made in a community’s viability (both financial and moral), its wider cultural significance will remain questionable.”

It just so happens that Mr. Munk is showing a number of his reliably enjoyable paintings about the history of the New York art world tonight at Lesley Heller Workspace, a gallery that is located on the Lower East Side.

Article continues below
More from Politics
Mayor Bill de Blasio with Officer Aml Elsokary.
NYPD Reports ‘Huge Spike’ in Hate Crimes Since Donald Trump’s Election