Brett Amory’s ‘This Land is Not for Sale’ Exhibit is a Breathing Commentary on LES Gentrification
Can artists prevail where politics and protests haven’t?
Brett Amory’s new exhibit, “This Land is Not for Sale: Forgotten, Past and Foreseeable Futures,” is a thought-provoking form of visual protest against rapid gentrification and a changing New York City.
The California-based Amory is known for his “Waiting” series of paintings, which depicted haunted and lonely scenes of London and San Francisco. Turning his focus to the Lower East Side, his new works capture a disappearing neighborhood, representing now-shuttered iconic landmarks (CBGB, Mars Bar), along with surviving sites that remain open for now (Block Drug Stores, Yonah Schimmel Knishery, Economy Candy, Katz’s), but seem anachronistic among an ever-expanding series of generic high rises and chain stores.
Viewers enter the Jonathan LeVine Gallery through a faux-construction scaffolded entrance representing the city being “sledgehammered into gentrification.” A small diamond-shaped glass window, set in to the entrance area, allows viewers to peer at a miniature model depicting the aftermath of the recent East Village gas explosion on Second Avenue.
Later tonight, there will be a panel “bringing together some of the legendary figures and activists of the Lower East Side to explore gentrification.” Moderated by author Alan Kaufman, the panel will include Brett Amory; Lincoln Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of The Villager; Clayton Patterson, LES-based photographer and activist; Jose “Cochise,” the founder and former leader of the notorious Satan’s Sinner Nomads (the last gang to fly colors in LES) and author of the forthcoming Street Gangs of the Lower East Side; and Lorcan Otway, the Director of Theater 80 on St. Mark’s.
“This Land is Not For Sale” is currently running through November 14.
The free panel discussion, open to the public, will take place tonight at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, 557C West 23 St, at 6:30pm.