In 1942, as European artists continued to flee the continent during World War II, Marcel Duchamp and André Breton organized a massive art exhibition at the Whitelaw Reid Mansion in midtown Manhattan. The catalogue given to visitors credits Breton with the hanging of the paintings, while Duchamp is thanked for “his twine,” a sprawling installation of string that he threaded through the galleries. Today this installation is known by the name 16 Miles of String, though reports at the time placed the actual length of material that Duchamp used at wildly different lengths. Researching this exhibit, Russeth was amazed that the details of such an important event could have become so dramatically exaggerated, jumbled, and mythologized. The lesson for him was that exhibitions, performances, and gallery shows are extremely ephemeral events, rarely documented completely. To help correct that issue in the present day, 16 Miles of String documents art in and around New York City, providing a detailed, historically grounded account. Andrew Russeth began 16 Miles of String in 2006. He is currently a senior editor at the New York Observer. In 2011 he helped launch the paper’s GalleristNY website, which focuses on the art world and the art market in New York. He currently edits GalleristNY while continuing to publish 16 Miles of String. Some of his recent articles have appeared in Modern Painters, the website of Paper Monument, and a catalogue for the Studio Museum in Harlem. He received a BA in art history and political science from Columbia University and an MS for Teachers in Childhood Education from Pace University.
2010 — Blog
Sixteen Miles of String