April 05, 2005

How street art can impact gentrification

An essay titled "Mysteries of the Creative Class, or, I Have Seen The Enemy and They Is Us" by Gregory Sholette

"Artists and other ‘creative’ professionals are increasingly willing pawns in the State-backed gentrification games of developers and corporations. But can those that wish to challenge the underlying brutalities of ‘culture-led regeneration’ turn their creative powers against it? Gregory Sholette on New York artists’ collective REPOhistory and their fight to re-write the story of urban renewal in Manhattan"

Here he sums up one of the conflicts.

"...REPOhistory was part of the creative class. While its objectives were different, REPOhistory, like RTmark, the Yes Men, and similar artistic agitators made use of available technologies and rhetorical forms to reach the same erudite consumer-citizens this swanky bar hoped to attract...."

The tragedy of political and artistic idealists misreading the actual results their public art. Makes you really question the short and long term results of such actions. I don't think REPOhistory or Gregory Sholette should feel as guilty as he does, by any means. Just interesting to see the way he, and others, played into the a certain aura about a place. How two conflicting visions of a place can be so different, and yet the same. Seems kind of torturous for Sholette to face what he feels to be such a personal class battle.

I'm really curious what anyone else out there thinks.


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