Suggested Reading: Artists vs. Developers Edition

The artist and the developer have a very complex relationship. Often the artist relies on commerce either to provide them patrons for their art, or to fund ambitious public art projects. The latter was the case in Kara Walker’s renowned installation at the now demolished Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The project met with some critique for choosing Domino, which is a site with a dubious history of generating and propelling large scale gentrification and displacement in the former working class, industrial neighborhood. One name that stands out amongst the patronage is that a member of Creative Time’s board, Jed Walentas, is the driving force behind this massive condofication project that will turn the former sugar plant into a massive luxury condo neighborhood a la Battery Park City. Art critic Carol Diehl wrote: “One could also make an issue of the extensive advertising Walker is providing for another sponsor, Two Trees Management, owned by Creative Time board member Jed Walentas, who worked for Trump before taking over his father’s real estate business, and will have 1700 luxury apartments to sell in his massive waterfront development on the site (as well as 700 affordable units, the number bumped up under pressure from Mayor de Blasio).” This weeks suggested reading takes a look at recent clashes between artists and developers.

– In the early morning hours on Tuesday November 18th, 2013, the international art world took a major cultural loss. The largest open air graffiti museum called 5Pointz, which featured murals by some of the world’s most important graffiti artists was painted over in pure white paint. All the work was forever lost and the building was blocked to artists and the community. The building was soon demolished to make way for new luxury towers. Now the Developer who whitewashed and demolished the internationally renowned Aerosol Art Museum 5Pointz now wants to trademark the name and use it for new high rises. via DNAinfo

– Street artist Craig Anthony Miller who goes by his tag “CAM,” is now suing real estate developers Toll Brothers for their unauthorized use of a mural he painted in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Toll Brothers are using a portion of the CAM’s mural in advertisements for their 205 Water Street development. The popular mural was demolished by another real estate developer in 2013 to make way for condos (of course). via Daily News

– In other art labor news there was a major conference that addressed labor issues faced by working artists. In case you missed The Artist as Debtor: A Conference about the Work of Artists in the Age of Speculative Capitalism’ Conference at Cooper Union, Hyperallergic was liveblogging. via Hyperallergic

– This next story is gentrification related but not solely art related. “Increasingly, as rents and housing prices rise, lower- and middle-income residents who own property or live in rent-stabilized apartments may be able to stay, but they will likely see their children and many of their friends move further and further away.” Gentrification may be complicated but it is not a myth, and neither is displacement. via New York Observer


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