Art: The Last Studios

If America has an art capital, it may well be an unlikely-looking area of Manhattan called SoHo, a place of grimy warehouses and zigzagging fire escapes, delivery trucks and wholesale machine shops. Its dark and sullen buildings are filled with lofts that house the heaviest concentration of art activity in the country.

SoHo is an abbreviation of the city planning commission's original title for the place—"South Houston Industrial District." Its exact boundaries are uncertain, but it can be said to be bordered on the north and south by Houston and Canal streets, and by...

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