Brett Amory’s ‘This Land is Not for Sale’ Exhibit is a Breathing Commentary on LES Gentrification

Posted on: October 20th, 2015 at 10:25 am by
Brett Amory. Photo: Lori Greenberg.

Brett Amory. Photo: Lori Greenberg.

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.

Photo: Lori Greenberg.

Photo: Lori Greenberg.

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.

Photo: Lori Greenberg.

Photo: Lori Greenberg.

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. More information can be found here.

Recent Stories

Sampling the Lost Cuisine Found in ‘The German Jewish Cookbook’

In our current food-obsessed culture – especially in places like New York City – it seems that we are global food citizens. We have easy access to an endless variety of restaurants and specialty food stores, which enable us to explore foods from all over the world. And we can easily watch a multitude of […]

Lakwena Brings her Kaleidoscopic Vision to the Bowery Mural Wall

The season is changing, which means another participant for the revolving door that is the Bowery Mural Wall. Earlier this week, contractors sanded then resurfaced the two-story canvas in preparation for the next artist on the docket. We are told that the latest is Lakwena, a London-based artist who specializes in colorful, “kaleidoscopic” patterns. She […]

Six Years Later, Dewey Dufresne’s ‘BYGGYZ’ Finally Opens on Clinton Street

Don’t hold your breath any longer, for the time is here. Dewey Dufresne’s sandwich shop, BYGGYZ, finally debuted on the Lower East Side. The promise is fulfilled. BYGGYZ opened at 37-39 Clinton Street yesterday afternoon for the lunchtime rush. Truth be told, it bears an old-school, albeit welcome, deli counter vibe. (The previous tenant was […]

‘Van Leeuwen’ to Open LES Artisanal Ice Cream Shop on Ludlow Street Next Month

It’s been over a year since the music died at 172 Ludlow Street. That’s when Ludlow Guitars decamped from the Lower East Side after spending seventeen years on the block. Now its former Hell Square headquarters – where the business had moved in 2010 – is to become a trendy ice cream parlor. Artisanal ice […]

‘Marm Cafe’ on Clinton Street is Kaput, Transitions to ‘Bricia’

The end of the road is here for Marm Cafe. The three-year-old corner establishment at 79 Clinton Street hasn’t been open since at least mid-August, its fate finally sealed this week with those brown paper shades. We communicated with ownership via email several weeks ago and were told that the cafe was actually on holiday. […]