Perhaps one of the most recognizable images of the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe hangs in all its multicolored glory at the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan. Known more commonly as MoMA, the museum features the work of everyone from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Vincent Van Gogh to Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, and Claude Monet.
New York – Been There

How art frames New York City

Photo by Robert Alexander

New York – Been There How art frames New York City


The image of a romantic New York is instilled in us through countless movies and books. New York artist James Gulliver Hancock tries to create a more realistic version of the city.

Brian Patrick Eha
Brian Patrick Eha Journalist

Woody Allen has romanticized New York. The classic Manhattan of course, with its luminous black-and-white shots of iconic buildings, but also Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery and many others in which the city itself receives top billing in the cast. These representations of New York instill a longing for lives unlived.

“What I fell in love with was the density of experience here,” says James Gulliver Hancock, an Australian artist who came to New York three years ago and started drawing the city’s buildings. James readily admits to an early fascination with New York through precisely those images that he now recognizes as romanticized – first Sesame Street as a child, then, later, films like Rear Window and West Side Story that depict the drama of “people living on top of each other” and which are set in versions of old Manhattan.

To a child of the 1980s like James, the cities they show are unreal cities, echoes that New York has shed as it changed, phantoms lost to time. He began to draw buildings in an attempt to make the city his own, to get beyond media representations and understand something of its essence. “New York has been so romanticized that it’s hard to grasp,” he says. “Drawing really made me stop and look at these things and make the city my own.”

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Brooklyn-born comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld, seen here filming in the Upper West Side, made its citizens the stars of his comedy series, "Seinfeld". The show is set in Upper West Side and Seinfeld tours allow visitors to see the places – and some of the people – made famous through the TV show. Photo by Nano Calvo / Alamy

Nano Calvo

Nano Calvo

Agency
Alamy

Brooklyn-born comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld, seen here filming in the Upper West Side, made its citizens the stars of his comedy series, "Seinfeld". The show is set in Upper West Side and Seinfeld tours allow visitors to see the places – and some of the people – made famous through the TV show.

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