Incarnations of Belphegor, 2015, collage, 10 x 12 in.
Developers have set their sights on the South Bronx, seeing it as the “next” neighborhood, an artsy enclave ripe for the taking. Their vicious cycle of urban colonization rejects truth in order to create a myth that will sell luxury condos to transplants while displacing a community that has been long neglected.
South Bronx native and multi-disciplinary artist Shellyne Rodriguez’s Incarnations of Belphegor illuminates this myth created by the gentrifying forces. Belphegor, seen in Rodriguez’s collage as a seven headed horned beast (resembling a leopard), is one of the seven princes of hell. His Modus Operandi is to seduce people by suggesting to them “ingenious inventions” that will make them rich. A critical analysis of predatory gestures drives the visual narrative in Shellyne’s work. The demon Rodriguez envisions has been summoned onto an empty plot of land within the neighborhood, which is ripe for the taking by prospective developers who will then push out longtime residents in order to lure their new mega rich patrons.
– While many artists eschew the suggestion that their presence in a neighborhood spurs gentrification, Lucian Smith isn’t helping that discourse. The young painter was recently was the host of a controversial party in the South Bronx, a neighborhood on the cusp of displacing long-time residents in favor of bougie high-rise condos akin to almost everywhere else in the city. The party’s theme of was a huge affront to the neighborhood . via Artinfo
– Speaking of gentrification and the arts, Art F City’s Paddy Johnson reports that artists are not happy with the “Real Estate Summit” that’s being planned at the Brooklyn Museum. She is among the many artists and cultural people that are petitioning the museum to reconsider their efforts to support continuing real estate developments throughout the neighborhood that are making Brooklyn unaffordable for the long time residents and communities that have given Brooklyn its true culture. Without these vibrant communities, Brooklyn will just be another generic city of the rich much like Manhattan has become. via Art F City
– Then again, maybe living in New York shouldn’t always seem like a major factor for artists. Lauren Palmer gives us some examples of why young budding artists should reconsider the Big Apple. She also suggests the most affordable schools in New York, for those of you who can’t fathom the thought of being elsewhere. via artnet
– Why limit yourself to one place anyways? Alec Soth’s Winnebego Workshop is putting art education on wheels. The often nomadic photographer will embark on a road trip in a repurposed RV, which will act as a classroom for students to learn from a variety of professional artists that Soth meets along the way. via Hyperallergic
– I really love Erasing the Border, a public art project by Ana Teresa Fernández and a group of volunteers. Fernández and volunteers from the U.S and Mexico got together along the Mexican side of the border fence in Nogales, to collectively paint it in a similar color as the sky. By doing so they’re imagining a “borderless society.” The artist and company plan to do more of these actions along the border in different locations. Fernández also has her sights on the US side and is hopeful that she can bring the project to Texas someday. via Hyperallergic
– No Longer Empty has been bringing significant exhibitions to abandoned or neglected public space throughout the city. The themes of the exhibitions are usually socially engaged and take on issues of poverty, inequality, and gentrification. Their latest exhibition, “When You Cut into the Present, the Future Leaks Out,” will be on display in the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse at 878 Brook Ave. from April 23 until July 19. The large scale exhibition in the South Bronx is bringing the debate on gentrification to the forefront. via DNAinfo
– A Blade of Grass has announced their 2015 Fellows for Socially Engaged Art. The artists include: Sol Aramendi, Adaku Utah, Kerry Richardson and Steven Ciampaglia, Nigel Poor, Laura Chipley, Mary Mattingly, Suzanne Lacy, and Dread Scott. via A Blade of Grass
– Strikes are continuing at The National Gallery in London because the museum is planning to outsource jobs, which would affect over 400 current employees. via The Art Newspaper
– One artist is taking to the streets to protest Google’s access to information in the digital age. via artnet
– Corinna Kirsch reviews the 2015 Open Engagement conference. via Art F City
– There is a petition going on for all gender bathrooms to be put into place at major NYC museums. via Change.org
– Take the quiz by Carolina A. Miranda “Coachella or Art Basel?” via LA Times