Project about New York’s Artist Loft Law

Stumbled across this fascinating video on YouTube about Josh Charow’s photography book ‘Loft Law. The Last of New York City’s Original Artist Lofts’.
“The law, enacted in 1982 (Article 7-C of the Multiple Dwelling Law), granted protection and rent stabilization to thousands of artists who were living illegally in commercial and manufacturing zoned lofts in neighborhoods like Soho, Tribeca, and the Bowery after the manufacturing industry predominantly left Manhattan.

Two years ago, he found a map of the remaining protected buildings, rang hundreds of doorbells, and photographed and interviewed over 75 artists who are still living in these incredible lofts to this day. The photographs explore some of the most unique beautiful, and hidden artist studios across New York City. The book includes writing and personal stories from the incredible group of artists featured in the book.”

It’s particularly poignant to watch this at a time when artists are really struggling for affordable spaces in London – not just to work but to live (like everybody else) – with what studio spaces that are created as a product of newbuilds being shortlife. It made me think of the artist community that once thrived in Leytonstone before the M11 Link Road was built.

You can order Loft Law here


  1. grahamlarkbey   •  

    Hackney and Hackney Wick were similar until they got gentrified/hipsterised and the artists got forced/priced out.

  2. joga bonito   •  

    yep, Hackney Wick was once the largest concentration of artists in Europe. Wondering if there are any protected artist spaces in London, and if so why the hell not.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Not that I’m aware of Joga, there are a few spaces that are created as part of new developments, but this almost a kind of ‘arts washing’ to get the plans approved

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