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

‘Ariel’s Bistro’ at Clinton and Houston Calls it Quits

Ariel’s Latin Bistro, which arrived on the Lower East Side nightlife scene in June 2014, is down for the count. The bar-restaurant closed last week with little notice to the neighborhood. And while the decorative lights still gleam within, leasing signs in the windows cancel it out. That Ariel’s shuttered isn’t out of the blue. […]

Chinatown Honors Parkland School Massacre Hero Peter Wang

A vigil was held yesterday afternoon in Kimlau Square to honor Brooklyn-born Peter Wang, who was tragically killed in the Parkland high school shooting last week. The gathering was organized by the United Fujian Association. Wang was a cadet in the U.S. Army’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When […]

14-Story Hotel Development Reactivated at Vacant Eldridge Street Lot

It’s been two years since we learned about the new hotel planned for 79 Eldridge Street, the long-vacant lot situated south of Grand. Despite the submission of building plans to the city back in March 2016, inactivity has been the trend here. No longer. As of last week, the green-hued perimeter plywood is now constructed […]

Siggy’s Good Food is Closing Down this Weekend

Siggy’s Good Food will end its restaurant business this weekend after thirteen years. The Elizabeth Street outpost – on the block since 2012 – closes for good on Saturday. “Goodbye, NYC, you gave us wings and now it’s time to fly,” reads the official announcement. Siggy’s eponymous owner is apparently off to Charlotte with its […]

7-Story Matzo Factory Condos Top Out on Rivington Street

The Streit’s name hasn’t held court on the Lower East Side since demolition of 148-154 Rivington Street commenced in the summer of 2016. Now, in its place, teaser signage for the upper crust newcomer which just topped out last week. The token signal of apex – an American flag – was planted atop the seven-story […]