Monday, December 20, 2010

Peter Agostini's 12th Street Studio, as Photographed by David Carrow

For most of the 1960’s, Peter Agostini had a studio on 12th Street in Manhattan, between Avenues B and C.  In the early 70’s, he purchased a building on Greene Street in Soho, and the12th Street studio was left unused for several years.

David Carrow, who was a student of Agostini’s at the New York Studio School, and later, his graduate assistant at UNC Greensboro, remembers telling Agostini he wanted to photograph the old studio before it was cleared out.  “The place had become sort of a tomb," he told me recently.  "It was very quiet and dusty.  There was no activity in there, which was so interesting.  I remember just saying, I gotta get in here and take some pictures because this is just fantastic with the light coming in on all the plaster and just the kind of decay and deterioration that was there, because nobody had been moving things around for a while.”

The resulting photographs, 20 in number, show the studio as it stood sometime in the early 70’s.  Agostini worked mostly in plaster during his years on 12th Street, making many of his famous swells, cast balloons, drapery and found objects, and these pieces can be seen as they sat on that day, abandoned and in disrepair, covered in dust, beautifully lit by a combination of natural light and fluorescents.

The studio space measured 125 by 25 feet, with concrete floors, a sink, one skylight and a four-burner stove, the only source of heat.  Eventually the building, across the street from Public School 61, was condemned and became a parking lot.  Where the pieces in the photos are today is unknown, as is the exact date these photographs were made.

See more of these photos on our Flickr page.

Click photos to enlarge.

Learn more about Peter Agostini on his profile.


  1. Thanks for posting these and thanks to David for taking them. I visited Peter's basement on Greene St once but it was too dark and messy to be able to see anything.

  2. This is a great site. It is a total pleasure to see so much of the work, and thus the man, in one spot so many years since I last saw Peter. I was a student and friend in 1969 at the Studio School. I am more impressed with the work now than I was at the time. I think he was an artist whose work was never given its full due.

  3. www.yourexpertnation.comOctober 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    i'm Peter AGOSTINI'S niece and would love to hear stories about him and his art. i live in nyc near Union Square

  4. I studied with Peter from 1981-85 at UNCG... he was a mentor to me and many others , i would be happy to share stories, experiences and recollections of our years at Gboro. it was the best period of my youth because of him. email me at