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Though broadly chronological, I have been selective in my attention.While elements may have been missed out, the ambition here remains a general—if rapid—historical overview.
The “reality condition”, or lack thereof, prescribed by Baudrillard for this consumerist megapolis – and the art produced at its center – will be our concern shortly.
For now let us return to Halley’s 7th Street apartment – the seat of much during these early years – to a period before Foucault and Baudrillard, when Halley – still only I was working alone at home, listening to the radio, turning on electric lights, being able to turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, talk on the telephone, turn on the air conditioner.
On the ground floor on the street there used to be a bar or a pub that had a stucco facade and windows with bars over them.
I began to do the jail paintings, paintings of prison-type facades.
Above all, he begins publishing his writings, his first major theoretical text, which we have already touched upon, appearing in the May edition of magazine.
Reflecting upon this period of New York cultural life, literary critic and cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer writes that, while at the end of the 1970s New York “was still a dump, a pothole,” with everybody still “bracing for survival,” the city was also “cheap, fluid, wide open.” He continues: Artists were living as a kind of tribe.
The artist Peter Fend becomes a friend, as does critic and essayist Jonathan Crary.
Halley also begins to actively participate in a bi-weekly discussion group for artists and critics.
They were white, smart, and “pure,” professionally poor.
There was a sense that they were in it together, participating in a privileged experience.