From the early twentieth century, through the post-war years until today, downtown Manhattan, specifically Greenwich Village, was at the heart of bohemian life, vibrant intellectual discussion, and the gathering place for the artistic community. Drawing on this rich and colorful history, Mercer Contemporary seeks to honor the pioneering artists of the past and cultivate a dynamic and intellectual artistic dialogue into the future.
The [Washington Square Park] arch in the winter of 1916 was the scene of a quaint and unusual revolution. John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp with several of their Bohemian artist friends climbed the narrow staircase through the steel door on the west side. On reaching the top they spread out hot water bags to sit on, opened food and wine, lit Japanese lanterns and blew up red balloons. They read poems, fired cap pistols and with a grand shout, John Sloan declared Greenwich Village “a Free Republic, Independent of Uptown”.
— Anecdote taken from Greenwich Village, Fred McDarrah, 1963