Exhibition Talk: Simeon Bankoff, Julie Finch, Roberta Gratz, Robert Hammond

Wednesday, October 25
101 Spring Street
New York, NY

A conversation with Simeon Bankoff, the Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council; Julie Finch, former wife of Donald Judd and organizer of Artists Against the Expressway; and Roberta Gratz, urban theory critic and author. Moderated by Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Friends of the High Line and co-producer of the film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. The panelists discuss the impact of Artists Against the Expressway and community engagement in the fight against the Lower Manhattan Expressway in 1969. They consider the history of New York preservation, activism, and the role of the artist and individuals within the constantly changing city.

This talk is part of the Fall 2017 public programs in New York and Texas that explore aspects of Donald Judd’s relationship with his contemporaries in New York from the 1960s through the 1980s. The talk series coincides with Yayoi Kusama, an exhibition of four paintings by the artist on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street.

Simeon Bankoff is the Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, a position he has held since 2000. Mr. Bankoff has focused his entire professional career on historic preservation in New York, and is a renowned expert on the city’s built environment. His work encompasses land use, zoning, affordable housing, and adaptive reuse, and, as a result, is at the forefront of New York City’s historic preservation movement. Before joining the Historic Districts Council, Mr. Bankoff was senior staff at the Historic House Trust of New York City, where he coordinated programmatic oversight of more than 20 historic house museums throughout the five boroughs. He has also worked with the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, where he helped initiate its acclaimed Cultural Medallions program. Mr. Bankoff has lectured for graduate and undergraduate classes at Columbia University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Hunter College, New York University, Pratt Institute, and Sarah Lawrence College. He has also participated in cultural exchange programs concerning urban preservation with groups from Europe and Asia, and wrote a featured column for The New York Times. He holds an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute. 

Julie M. Finch was co-founder and chair of Artists Against the Expressway with her husband Donald Judd in 1969. She was a choreographer/dancer and member of Community Board #2 for many years. Finch is now co-chair of Friends of Gibbons Underground Railroad site on 29th Street.

Roberta Brandes Gratz is an award-winning journalist and urban critic, lecturer and author. Her most recent book is We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City. Earlier works were: The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, the now classic The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, and Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown. Ms. Gratz’ was a reporter for the old New York Post under Dorothy Schiff.  In 2003, Gratz was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and in 2010 resigned from the commission and was then appointed by the mayor to serve on the Sustainability Advisory Board for PlaNYC. In 2005, Gratz founded the Center For the Living City to build on the legacy of Jane Jacobs. She is also Trustee of the New York State Preservation League; former Vice-President of the Salzburg Conference on Urban Planning and Development; founder and President Emeritus of the Eldridge Street Museum.

Robert Hammond is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit conservancy that he co-founded with Joshua David in 1999 to support the annual operating budget to maintain, operate, and program the park. Before the High Line, Hammond supported the launch of online businesses in the public health and travel commerce industries, and worked as a consultant for an array of organizations, including the Times Square Alliance, and Alliance for the Arts. He has been awarded the Vincent Scully Prize (2013), the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome (2010), the Rockefeller Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Medal, along with David (2010), and an honorary doctorate from The New School (2012). Hammond is also a self-taught artist and served as an ex-officio member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees. Hammond is a co-producer of the film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, which chronicles a clash between mid-20th-century urban planning methods, and chronicles how they relate to today’s urban renaissance. Hammond is a graduate of Princeton University.

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