Adler Guerrier, “Untitled (In the Shadow of Watts Tower)” (2017), archival pigment print, 14 x 21 inches (image courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami)

Over the past decade, Los Angeles has become one of the nation’s most desirable cities to live in. The influx of new residents has led to unprecedented levels of development, alongside housing shortages, displacement, and gentrification. Artists and galleries have found themselves on both sides of the issue: accused of being gentrifying forces in Boyle Heights, and pushed out of their longtime studios just across the Los Angeles River.

An upcoming program at the California African American Museum (CAAM) titled “Artists for Housing and Homeless Rights” aims to address some of the the issues surrounding these rising tensions. Organized in conjunction with the USC Roski MA Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere, and curated by Alex Sizemore, the day-long series of events features presentations and performances from the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a collective that uses data visualization to present information on displacement in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and the Los Angeles Poverty Department, a community theater group based in Los Angeles’s Skid Row. The program will also include a tour of Adler Guerrier: Conditions and Forms for blck Longevity, the CAAM exhibition of photographs of public and private spaces in Los Angeles and Miami, portraying them as contested and historically loaded sites.

When: Saturday, March 31, 10am–4pm
Where: California African American Museum (600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles)

More info at the California African American Museum.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.

One reply on “How Artists Can Address the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles”

  1. I really wish Hyperallergic would be more discriminating in the way it addresses gentrification, particularly in California. CA’s chronic and progressively critical housing crisis is one of scarcity. Due to local ordinances CA simply doesn’t produce enough housing to keep up with natural growth. This is an indisputable fact that’s supported by the state’s own budget office. The effect has been a massive, generational impoverishment as old-time, existing residents hang onto their rapidly appreciating real-estate and those in rent controlled flats never leave: leaving millennials and recent immigrants to foot the bill for housing scarcity. That has had a devastating effect on artists in the state who need a thriving community to collaborate with and the institutions and businesses to support their pursuit. Yet the places most suitable to that, the major cities, are increasingly locking them out due to exceedingly high rents. Those that do manage, often live in terrible conditions, the Ghostship fire being a direct result of housing desperation.

    Yet the “Anti-Eviction Mapping Project” has persistently fought housing construction, finding willing collaborates with neighborhood groups, who’ve seen their property rapidly appreciate, all too willing use any measure to fight construction that would lower the value of their appreciated residential buildings. Indeed the Mapping Project is part of collection of not-for-profits that have placed the Bay Area at the forefront of poor and minority displacement with their adamant and total objection to market rate residential construction.

    Worse, both “The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project” and “Los Angeles Poverty Department” are advocating for the repeal of Costa Hawkins, which if successful would have a catastrophically chilling effect on new construction in the state, very likely precipitating the total state-wide repeal of rent-control and delaying any meaningful improvements to the housing crisis for years. Very likely putting CA the liberal, immigrant friendly political environment at severe risk. This is an indisputable fact, known by anyone remotely knowledgeable about housing.

    The CA progressive activist community has historically taken it as an article of faith that market rate residential construction be opposed, the current housing crisis is a direct result. It’s imperative that artists work to oppose these old-guard groups before they take CA over the precipice and hyperallergic should familiarize themselves with the situation before wading in with active support partisans in that struggle.

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