The Rivington School or Wat

collection of photos pasted together



Governed by ethics based primarily in creativity, the bizarre and unusual was common behavior. Often personalities dominated for periods of time, but much was said and done sanctioned purely in the freedoms implied with the standards of art. Participation was open to all but often the criteria of endurance was overwhelming and often proved prohibitive.

We often gathered in cold, damp, and dirty spaces vacated by a more moderate group of people. Our arena was the desolation created by speculators in wait for reinvestment in deliberately devalued city properties. It worked for us because we found freedom and escaped scrutiny.

Encouraged by dreams of a growing community of artists, and the expansion of events; Jim C, Ray Kelly and myself, with the support of many others, clawed our way through composted debris in order to gain use of vacant spaces in and around our buildings. A bar was installed in the freshly cleaned basement under our galleries and the idled No Se No came back to life. We continued the excavation and accessed the vacant neighboring lot, which had been leveled by city renovation efforts and given over to the hoards of rats, junkies, and whores. Rearranging refuse and debris we established the beginnings of the first Rivington School Sculpture Garden.

While the galleries and No Se No enabled many exhibits and performances, the garden gave us a huge outdoor space where welders and blacksmiths, carvers and mural painters, exploded with enterprise. We expressed changes and designs, adding catwalks and cages, stages and bars. With welded scrap metal, carved wood and stone, fresco and paints, there were materials and ideas enough to employ the growing participation. The magic nights on Rivington Street had returned and multiplied equal to our dreams.

-Freddie the Dreamer

All images ©1980-2009 and photos ©1980-2009 Toyo Tsuchiya and may not be used or distributed without permission.