Election Day!!

 Chris Marte in Chinatown. Photo courtesy of martenyc.com

Chris Marte in Chinatown. Photo courtesy of martenyc.com

The District 1 race for New York City's local elections today has involved a unique amount of participation by the art community, and by art galleries in particular. Zoning and gentrification are key issues in the race for District 1, which encompasses the gallery-rich neighborhoods of Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Soho and Tribeca. Christopher Marte, now 28, grew up on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side.

Marte's support among the art crowd in the district took off after he participated in events held by the community group Art Against Displacement, which was founded by the owner of 47 Canal gallery. Marte has subsequently enjoyed the support of a number of art galleries located in the district, including Gavin Brown's Enterprise, James Fuentes, Bodega and Essex Street.

Regardless of the outcome, Marte's campaign has served as a case study of how art galleries can constructively participate in political affairs at the community level.

Remembering Linda Nochlin

 Photo by Adam Husted, courtesy of ARTNEWS

Photo by Adam Husted, courtesy of ARTNEWS

Linda Nochlin, one of the most influential art historians of the twentieth century, has passed. Nochlin is best known for her 1971 essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" which incited a profound shift in thinking among curators, critics and art historians and is a foundational text for feminist art history and theory.

ARTNEWS, which originally published her seminal essay in 1971, has published a thoughtful tribute.

Trump Sketch Sells at Auction for $16,000

 Trump's 1995 drawing of the Empire State Building via NYTimes

Trump's 1995 drawing of the Empire State Building via NYTimes

A drawing by Donald Trump of the Empire State Building sold at auction in Los Angeles for a hammer price of USD $16,000. Trump drew the 9" x 12" sketch in 1995 for a charity auction at his Mar-a-Lago estate. It initially sold for USD $100.

At the time that he produced the drawing, Trump was attempting to purchase the Empire State Building. The effort failed and he was ultimately forced to sell his stake in the landmark property.

In 2016, the median size of grants given by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was less than USD $20,000. As president, Trump has proposed to eliminate the NEA entirely. The NEA is working out of a temporary office space at present, having been displaced from the building which was transformed into the Trump International Hotel - Washington.

Tensions Rise in Gentrifying Chinatown over Art Exhibit

The current exhibition by Omer Fast, "August," has caused a firestorm of debate. Mounted at James Cohan Gallery in the Lower East Side of New York, the centerpiece of the exhibition is an immersive installation that alludes to the gallery's Chinatown location.

 Courtesy of ArtNet News: Installation view, “Omer Fast: August,” James Cohan, New York, 2017. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.

Courtesy of ArtNet News: Installation view, “Omer Fast: August,” James Cohan, New York, 2017. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.

A large protest headed by community groups including Art Against Displacement, Decolonize this Place and the Chinatown Art Brigade was mounted last weekend.

The Chinatown Art Brigade issued the following statement:

"The conception and installation of this show reifies racist narratives of uncleanliness, otherness and blight that have historically been projected onto Chinatown. Your appalling exhibition should be shut down.”

The artist, who immigrated from Israel to the US as a teenager, has issued a response:

"...The point of this work was never to insult or incite but to talk about identity and immigrant experience – my immigrant experience – warts and all, in its complexity and in its contradictions, pitting essence against appearance. For what it’s worth, I think this is what this work does..."