"Arch Conspirators," 1917 by John Sloan

"Arch Conspirators" by John Sloan in John Sloan, New York Etchings (Dovers)

A mock revolution was held atop Washington Square Arch in 1916. On a wintry night in January, artists Gertrude Drick, John Sloan, Marcel Duchamp, and five other friends snuck through the small side door of the arch and ascended the steep interior stairway to emerge on top of the arch. There, the band of conspirators enjoyed a midnight picnic, following which they announced the secession of Greenwich Village from the Union, stating that it would henceforth be known as the “Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square.”

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