Book: Cheap Rents… and de Kooning

A new book by the photographer John Cohen explores the movers of New York's midcentury downtown art scene, including Willem de Kooning, Jack Kerouac, Robert Frank, Larry Rivers and Allen Ginsberg

In the 50s and 60s, the dawn of abstract expressionism saw New York temporarily become the centre of the international art world. A new book from Steidl explores the downtown scene that perpetuated this rise.

Cheap Rents ... and de Kooning gathers John Cohen's photographs from 1957 to 1963, a time when artists ran their own 10th Street galleries and could afford to live in loft conversions. Cohen, who befriended many of the scene's major figures, was one of their number.

The book is named for the major Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning, whose studio acted as a meeting point for artists and poets. Other subjects include the beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, the painter Larry Rivers and the photographer Robert Frank. Cohen's images capture them in legendary venues like the Cedar Bar, the Artist's Club and the Tanager Gallery.