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January 11, 2021

Extraordinary Photographs Capture Scenes of Life in New York’s Times Square in the 1980s

Artist Jane Dickson is a deep-rooted and central voice in New York City’s complex creative history. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, she was part of the movement joining the legacies of downtown art, punk rock, and hip hop through her involvement with the Colab art collective, the Fashion Moda gallery, and legendary exhibitions including the Real Estate Show and Times Square Show.

Times Square in the 1970s and 1980s wasn’t the squeaky clean version we know today–and we can thank folks like Jane Dickson for documentary style images of what we knew of the era. Back then it was known for being New York’s hub of seediness, drugs and crime. Movie theaters were showing pornography and the streets were dominated by pimps and prostitutes – it was the mecca for indulgence and perversion.

In the midst of this groundbreaking work, Dickson lived, worked and raised two children in an apartment on 43rd Street and 8th Avenue at a time when the neighborhood was at its most infamous, crime-ridden, and spectacularly seedy. Through it all, Jane photographed, drew and painted extraordinary scenes of life in Times Square.

(Photos © Jane Dickson)


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