Sandra de la Loza, "The Speculator's Eden" (2019), interactive installation, dimensions variable (all images courtesy apexart)

The question of what a de-gentrified future could, or rather should, look like remains an open one. In these times of plague and political reckoning, the question feels particularly urgent and sits at the center of an exhibition now on view at apexart, online and by appointment. Curated by artist, activist, and educator Betty Yu, Imagining De-Gentrified Futures positions working-class, POC, and immigrant communities — those most affected by capitalist displacement — at the center of discussions of what US cities might look like if we abandoned the moneyed forces that have driven urban planning and “renewal” for decades. 

Imani Jacqueline Brown, “Disappeared Bodies” (2020), print poster, 24 x 32 inches

Works by collectives like Black Quantum Futurism and Chinatown Art Brigade imagine alternatives for cities like Philadelphia and New York, while artists like Imani Jacqueline Brown trace a direct line from colonial violence to acts of erasure by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

Such calls for a rejection of hyper-capitalist, and frequently racialized, approaches to public policy and housing are echoed in the “Radical Housing Manifesto,” as well as the writings of Samuel Stein, and the films of Walis Johnson and Third World Newsreel (formerly Newsreel Collective). These works offer brilliant, accessible rebuttals to narratives of gentrification as positive or even unavoidable. They’ll form the basis for apexart’s upcoming reading group, open to any and all with an internet connection, thanks to our virtual times. Curator Betty Yu will lead a discussion with Stein, a New York City-based writer and policy analyst whose essay “Why Gentification?” is on the reading list.

Black Quantum Futurism, “All Time Is Local” (2019), digital video, 4:59 min (still)

Pull up a chair, plug in your laptop, and tune in for a discussion that foregrounds radical new possibilities for a future we should all be invested in shepherding.

When: December 1, 7:30 pm EST

Where: online, via apexart

See apexart for more info 

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.