Art & Ephemera from 98 Bowery, 1969-89

Art & Ephemera from 98 Bowery, 1969-89

December 19th – December 28th, 2014
Opening Reception Friday, Dec. 19, 6pm to 9pm
curated by Marc H. Miller

Art & Ephemera from 98 Bowery



Opening Friday, December 19th, The Lodge Gallery is proud to present Art & Ephemera from 98 Bowery, 1969 to 1989. Every era creates its own type of art object. The multiples, political statements, and ephemera in this exhibition are representative of the deliberately transient quality and populist impulse of art in the 1970s and 80s.

Artists in this show include Charlie Ahearn, John Ahearn, Marc Brasz, Colette, Thom Corn, Jane Dickson, Stefan Eins, Sandra Fabara (Lady Pink), John Fekner, Peter Fend, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G (Robert Goldman), Mike Glier, Group Material, Keith Haring, Curt Hoppe, Becky Howland, Baird Jones, M. Henry Jones, Lisa Kahane, Christof Kohlhofer, Marisela La Grave, Don Leicht, Dick Miller, Marc H. Miller, Richard Mock, John Morton, Tom Otterness, Phase 2, Bettie Ringma, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, David Schmidlapp, Arleen Schloss, Kiki Smith, Susan Springfield, Anita Steckel, Jehnifer Stein, Anton Van Dalen, Arturo Vega, Tom Warren, Robin Winters, David Wojnarowicz, Y Pants, and more.


Art & Ephemera 2The website tells the story of the downtown art scene in the 1970s and 80s as I experienced it living in the top floor loft at 98 Bowery. These were bleak years for New York marked by economic decline, crime, drugs, and in many sections of the city, a desolate landscape of abandoned buildings and rubble-strewn lots. But for the young artists living in the Lower East Side during one of its worse moments there was a silver lining: cheap rents, camaraderie, plenty of real-life inspiration, and a do-it yourself ethos that made anything possible. To use the ironic phrase coined by artist Joseph Nechvatal, downtown was an “Island of Negative Utopia.” As an artist, curator, and writer, I had a ringside seat for much of the action. Just down the street from 98 Bowery was CBGB where a revolution in music, art and style was unfolding. Art was no longer confined to traditional galleries. Graffiti and street posters covered the walls, and exhibitions were held in nightclubs and squatted buildings. With limited access to the commercial mainstream, artists made things for themselves and for their peers. Works were created quickly and cheaply for short duration theme exhibitions and artist-run stores. New formats emerged: performance, video and independent film. Much of the action that I knew centered around Collaborative Projects Inc. (COLAB), the loosely organized artist group that was responsible for the Real Estate Show (1980), the Times Square Show (1980), and the art spaces Fashion Moda in the South Bronx, and ABC No Rio Dinero on the Lower East Side.

Every era creates it’s own type of art object. Multiples, political statements, and ephemera are representative of the deliberately transient quality and populist impulse of art in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition at the Lodge Gallery includes treasures that I acquired during that time, as well as vintage works that I have collected more recently for Gallery 98, the online store of In selecting the items, I have not held back. Many are masterpieces whose rich historical and aesthetic content rivals that found in more conventional art objects.

– Marc H. Miller,

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The Fort Worth Modern Art Museum will be showing photos from Colab’s 5 Bleecker Store shows “Income and Wealth,” “Manifesto Show,” “Just Another Asshole Show,” “Colab Real Estate Show,” and “Times Square Show.”

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2014 MoRUS Film Fest

11x17 Poster_small


Monday 8/4 @Le Petit Versailles Garden

346 E Houston St, (between Ave B and C) New York, NY 10009, 8pm
Directed by Andrea Callard

Directed by Coleen Fitzgibbon

37 minutes total
More info TBA

Virgin Beauty

Still from Virgin Beauty by Coleen Fitzgibbon

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Coleen Fitzgibbon wins an Acker Award

This is from

CF Acker Awards


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Marc Levin  independent film

CONCEPTUAL AND PERFORMANCE ART: Sur Rodney Sur & Geoffry Hendricks,

Kembra Pfahler

VISUAL ART: Jim Power, Boris Lurie, Dietmar Kirves, Ed F Higgins III, Arleen Schloss,

Mac McGill. Helen Oliver Adelson, Bill Hiene, Julius Klein, Phoebe Legere

MUSIC: Mattew Shipp, Phoebe Legere, Gary Lucas, Mark Birnbaum 


ART SPACE DEVELOPMENT: Jack Waters, Peter Cramer

JOURNALISM: Sarah Ferguson 

COMMUNITY ART: Anton Van Dalen.

TATTOO: Tom DeVita


FILM: Marc Levin, Bradley Eros, Coleen Fitzgibbon



SCULPTURE: Tom Otterness

THEATER: Robert Hiede, John Gilman, Edgar Oliver

THEATER DESIGN: Helen Oliver Adelson

FICTION: Bonny Finberg, Herbert Huncke


POETRY: Anne Ardolino, Erik LaPrade

ARCHIVIST: Jean Noël Herlin


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Clocktower Radio Interviews Coleen Fitzgibbon & Other Members of Colab

Colab, The Real Estate Show, and ABC No Rio: A History
Clocktower Radio, hosted by Jeannie Hopper.

Originally aired 5/5/14.

“On the occasion of the exhibition “The Real Estate Show” at James Fuentes Gallery and other related exhibitions, this conversation features a discussion between artists Jane Dickson, Coleen Fitzgibbon, and Becky Howland about their involvement in the landmark art collective, Collaborative Projects, Inc., (familiarly known as Colab), and the 1980 Real Estate Show, which led to the creation of ABC No Rio cultural center. Fitzgibbon was one of the founding members of Colab in the late ’70’s. Howland was one of the principal organizers of the Real Estate Show, and a co-founder of ABC No Rio. Both Dickson and Howland were Colab members and officers in the 80s.

Colab is recognized as a “pioneer DIY arts collaboration,” lauded for its open policies and horizontal structure. The group produced a series of shows at artists’ lofts, live Cable TV broadcasts, annual stores of artists’ multiples, and the watershed “Times Square Show”, as well as initiatives like Betsy Sussler’s BOMB Magazine and Jane Dickson’s Times Square Spectacolor Board project.

The women discuss the drastically different climate of New York during the 1970s and 1980s, wherein artists could thrive and collaborate with “energy” and “serendipity” in a bankrupt city filled with derelict and abandoned buildings. The original “Real Estate Show” was held without permission in an abandoned building, and was quickly shut down by the authorities. The artists negotiated with city officials, obtained a storefront on Rivington Street, and in May 1980 opened the first exhibition at ABC No Rio.

The four 2014 exhibitions deal with past and future real estate issues in New York City: The Real Estate Show at James Fuentes Gallery had works and documentation from the original exhibition; The Real Estate Show: What Next at Cuchifritos Gallery was a venue for events and activities related to the current real estate situation on the Lower East Side; RESx at ABC No Rio was a show — in the spirit of the original Real Estate Show — open to all on the theme of real estate; No City is an Island at The Lodge Gallery featured works by artists from Colab.”

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Text / Landscape / Object at Spectacle, Brooklyn, NY with films by Coleen Fitzgibbon, Andrea Callard & Liza Béar

COLAB_TextLandscapeObject_banner2In and Around Collaborative Projects, Inc.
Spectacle, 124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY

Spectacle is pleased to host this survey of film and video works generated in and around famed no-wave NYC artists’ group Collaborative Projects, Inc., aka Colab. Organized by Laura Kenner and Rachel Valinsky, the series runs in conjunction with springtime programs at James Fuentes Gallery, ABC No Rio, The Lodge Gallery, and Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, commemorating Colab’s 1980 exhibition/action The Real Estate Show.



Liza Béar, Andrea Callard, Coleen Fitzgibbon in attendance!

“Text / Landscape / Object” explores the poetic and personal short films of three distinct female filmmakers’ works from the mid 70s to early 80s. Mining the relationships between image and text, landscape and object, Liza Béar, Coleen Fitzgibbon, and Andrea Callard each take a unique approach toward developing a highly personal idiom of the image in motion using both film and video. This program is roughly divided into three categories that often seep into one another: experiments in video poetics and communication (Béar) and examinations of found text and speech (Fitzgibbon); landscapes as real and imagined, dreamt and mirage-like (Béar and Fitzgibbon); and the relationship of everyday objects to bodies in space (Callard).

Dir. Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1975
USA, 4 min.

Filmed in several parts, Dictionary is a hyper-kinetic work, which runs through the R and the Un- sections of Webster’s Dictionary, using a microfilm camera to photograph and preserve paper documents on a roll of 16mm film. Fitzgibbon contemplates: the yellow notebook and blade-less knife handle were missing when the blue car impacted the red car.

Dir. Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1975
USA, 9 min.

A schizophrenic look at the news: in Time, Fitzgibbon filmed, cover to cover, micro text film of the November 1974 issue of the US, English language monthly periodical, Time, overlaying rapid, constantly scrolling shots, with a muffled, cut-up voiceover soundtrack of Daniel Ellsberg interviewed by Tom Snyder on the Pentagon Papers.

Dir. Liza Béar, 1983
USA, 8 min.

“In the beginning / Was the word processor.” Liza Béar’s Earthglow (1983) is a poetic film where words take the place of images to trace the artist/writer’s inner monologue. Through changes in color, type, placement and movement of words within the frame (that foreshadowed digital fades, slides, and other transition techniques…). Béar’s poetry, like a “Proustian sentence” takes the viewer/reader through warm Pacific suns, movie theaters, city streets (honking and street noise play in the background), recollections of a desert landscape, airplanes and deep sleep, always through the reflexive allusion to the process of writing. As “she strain[s] to remember her thoughts,” a “story line or board” emerges. Electronic engineering by Bruce Tovsky.

“A city dweller attempting to write a poem about a desert trip is distracted by a recent argument. Earthglow, whose only images are words, uses character animation to convey the writer’s internal dilemma through the shuttling of words across the screen, as well as color changes and ambient sound. Using an analogue character and switcher in a live edit, parts of the text are keyed in real-time and others are pre-recorded. On the score, an off-air burst from a Billie Holiday blues song (whose lyrics infiltrate the words of the poem) disrupts the strains of César Franck’s Violin Sonata. Earthglow is a film about the writing state of mind; past and present perceptions are reconciled in the act of writing.”
– Liza Béar

Dir. Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1973
USA, 3 min.

Fitzgibbon’s Found Film Flashes crafts an elliptical evocation of desire and sexual spectacle out of found footage. Strewn with fragments of black and white shots, Found Film Flashes is a collage of recurring speech fragments, where sound and image are particularly disjunctive. Voice over provides a commentary on an audiotape, while an obsessive, repetitious voice returns to the phrase, “It’s about tonight, it’s about tonight.”

Dir. Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1974
USA, 4 min.

Trip to Carolee runs quickly through still images of things passing: an apartment, a typewriter, a bridge, the road, as Marjorie Keller and Coleen Fitzgibbon drive to Carolee Schneeman’s. Fitzgibbon paints an intimate portrait of the travel between the city and the country and back, tracing her surroundings in accelerated, yet attentive ways.

Dir. Liza Béar, 1982
USA, 10 min.

Shot in 1982 in a bizarre Californian landscape, Lost Oasis, is an ambulating narrative with the desert at its core. This short film takes on the airs of a mirage as a loosely structured and evocative drama unfolds. Lost Oasis sets up a strange parallel reality where time moves slowly through the desert, in search of a lost oasis. Starring Michael McClard.

Dir. Andrea Callard, 1976
USA, 4 min.

In Flora Funera (for Battery Park City), Callard explores intimate games and noises as she repeatedly tosses rocks against exposed stakes of rebar.

Dir. Andrea Callard, 1976
USA, 4 min.

In Lost Shoe Blues, Callard ventures outside her studio to survey the clover of Battery Park while singing a round with herself on the film’s soundtrack.

Dir. Andrea Callard, 1976
USA, 2 min.

Callard clomps up flight after flight of stairs with giant white casts on her feet. Each pounding step echoes. When she finally removes the casts, they splinter and collapse and her bare feet emerge as though from cocoons. She enters her studio, abandoning the “fragments,” and inviting the viewer to leave behind the carapaces she wears to protect and hide the self inside.

Dir. Andrea Callard, 1974
USA, 12 min.

In Drawers, Callard playfully pulls the drawers of a white chest open, repeatedly hoisting a string of clothes and fabric tied together in a Rapunzel-like fashion out of the drawers until all have been emptied.

From Spectacle’s website

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Interview with Jason Patrick Voegele From The Lodge Gallery

Co-founder and Executive Director of The Lodge Gallery Jason Patrick Voegele

By Jamie Martinez

Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up at The Lodge Gallery?

I’m an American citizen but I grew up in South East Asia. Hong Kong and then Taiwan and Singapore respectively. In 1991 I graduated from Taipei American School and came to New York to become the next big thing like everyone else. I went to college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I studied painting and then returned to Pratt shortly thereafter to get my masters degree in studio art and art history. In between those years I lost myself studying comparative religions and mythology. That is still my primary passion.

After grad school I went to work in SoHo and Chelsea for some of the coolest galleries I knew that would employ me. I worked up front in sales and behind the scenes as a registrar and preparator for about ten years. Eventually I left all that and started my first gallery in Brooklyn, and then started Republic Worldwide in 2009. Republic did a lot of things and was staffed by the coolest smartest kids I could find. We had a curatorial division, a service/art handling division and a community/charity division that donated time and creative resources to various charities around NYC. We did some amazing work and some amazing shows and then the original team disbanded in early 2011 right around the time I met Keith Schweitzer. Keith had been up to a similar game out in the city when we met. He had founded two of his own curatorial projects and was out there hustling with the best of them. He was the first person I had worked with in New York that could see the future that I saw in a like-minded way. A mutual friend put us in touch and after our first project working together we pretty much became inseparable. We fused all of our work and our vision together under the banner of Republic and around January of 2013, after a long hard stretch of exhibitions in NYC and Miami we seized the opportunity to take over a space on the Lower East Side. It became our permanent venue shortly thereafter. The space became The Lodge of the Republic or The Lodge Gallery. Today The Lodge is the heart of everything we do.

(L-R) Jason Patrick Voegele and Keith Schweitzer. Photo by The Logde Gallery

You have a passion for working and giving back to the community. Why is working with the community so important to you?

I have always believed that we enrich our own lives by helping to enrich the lives of others. That’s been part of our mission at Republic and The Lodge from the start.

When I was a kid my mother’s father was the Secretary of Labor for the state of Idaho, my father’s father was a decorated Major in the Army Corps of Engineers and my father, who also grew up as an expatriate American in Europe and The Middle East, worked his whole life to better the reputation of Americans abroad. They all believed that if you want a better America you have to step up and become a better American. I suppose in my own small art world way I’ve been trying to do that.

Especially here in New York the art world can become so insular. I like working with artists and finding projects that engage new audiences to help develop relationships between communities that would not otherwise have interacted. There are a lot of ways to do that and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a great many talented and selfless people who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. It’s a hugely rewarding and educational experience every time I have the chance to engage with a new cause or visionary community organization.

NO CITY IS AN ISLAND at The Lodge Gallery

That’s really great Jason. The world needs more people like you. Can you talk about the current show at The Lodge Gallery NO CITY IS AN ISLAND?

Sure, in February we were approached by Christy Rupp who is an original member of the art collective Colab. We had exhibited Christie’s work in the past so she was familiar with the gallery and Keith and I were aware of Colab and their influence on the Lower East Side so everyone was excited to put this project together.  The Colab Collective is probably best known for their revolutionary 1980 exhibition “The Real Estate Show” which was organized in response to the grim economic conditions facing tenants of what was then, although culturally thriving, a nearly bankrupt, violent and desperate New York City. The show was confrontational, installed in a space that was occupied illegally and really galvanized the artist community, the press and city officials who shut the show down.

We reached out to as many of the original artists from that exhibition as we could and offered them the opportunity to submit work in response to the project title “NO CITY IS AN ISLAND”. The response turned out to be phenomenal and perhaps with the exception of only two or three artists, most of the work in the show ended up ranging from the late 80′s to the early 90′s.

“NO CITY IS AN ISLAND” revisits the zeitgeist of a New York City that is all but a memory now. It compares and contrasts the artists and urban realities of a New York that was struggling through a period of intense transformation. One of the most interesting aspects of this project has been getting to know these artists and to watch them reunite with the same love of New York and passion for their work and at a time when the subject of intense urban transformation could not be more relevant.

Another cool thing about the show is that it came together just in time for Lower East Side history month and is part of a multi-venue celebration of Colab and revisitation of “The Real Estate Show” with James Fuentes Gallery, Chuchifritos Gallery and ABC No Rio.

The exhibition is on view through May 11.

Opening night for NO CITY IS AN ISLAND at The Lodge Gallery

I went to James Fuentes Gallery for the opening and it was great; a lot of the artists where there. Speaking of real estate, how do you feel about having so many galleries opening up in the Lower East Side?

Yeah, the Fuentes show was awesome. It’s been great to see such an outpouring of support for Lower East Side history and for so many of the artists that early on helped to make this neighborhood legendary.

There has definitely been a huge boom in the number of galleries popping up down here and it has been great for the community. It’s been a long time coming though. I recall in the early 90’s there was a big push to legitimize the art scene down here and I think it fell apart primarily because the gallery visions and business concepts were based on an antiquated models that inhibited creativity and were inevitably unsustainable. The reason I believe it is working now is that the new galleries of the L.E.S., each in their own way, have embraced alternative business models and have begun to wonder if the traditional idea of a gallery can’t be broadened or reimagined to suit a new cultural reality. I also think that artists are getting smarter, more business savvy and more capable of self-marketing. Many of the brightest are interested in engaging with dealers and curators in more creative ways that require flexibility on the part of gallerists that you are just not going to find up on 57th street or within the Chelsea scene. Call it a generational shift. It feels like there is a generational shift going on down here.

Co-founder and Director of The Lodge Gallery Keith Schweitzer

What alternative business model does The Lodge Gallery use?

Well Keith and I wear a lot of hats. We do everything from corporate/private art consultation and installation to directing public art programs, marketing and art fair development. That’s all in addition to the gallery and the exhibitions we curate there together. The more we are able to strengthen our network while generating alternative sources of revenue, the freer we are to be experimental with our schedule, our artists and our exhibitions. The idea of trying to meet the bottom line exclusively through art sales alone has been the standard model for decades if not the last hundred years. It’s a slippery slope though because once those rent and electric bills start to roll in it becomes very easy to be tempted into only showing the most sellable work, the most palatable and marketable work. That means artists who are testing limits or pushing experimental boundaries have to take a back seat to the bottom line. We feel like part of our job is to cultivate and facilitate opportunities for artists first. In that spirit we don’t require our artists to sign exclusivity contracts. We don’t represent artists at The Lodge; we represent bodies of work that we consign directly from artists for pre-arranged periods of time.

We also have a uniquely unusual schedule to accommodate a broader audience. Tuesdays through Sunday we have fairy normal daytime gallery hours and then at 8pm we bring in our night staff and stay open until midnight. Our official closing time is 10pm but we are almost always here until midnight. Most people think those hours sound crazy until they find out about the secret behind the west wall of the gallery. Evenings are never boring at The Lodge.

Artist Frank Webster

I love your business model, especially the part that you don’t represent artists but bodies of work. What show are you curating next?

Well, by the time this will probably go to print we will be exhibiting the post-industrial urban landscape paintings of Frank Webster in a show titled: Margins. The opening for that is next Friday, May 16th so I hope you come. Very excited for that. It’s funny how sometimes you find out a lot about yourself by looking back at the work you’ve done in the big picture. Sometimes you discover patterns of interest. Frank’s exhibition further explores our interest in urban architecture and if you look back at the last year and a half at the Lodge Gallery it’s pretty obvious that Keith and I are smitten with that subject. But we are interested in a lot of things and the show following that will be a large group exhibition exploring the natural evolution of birds and plants.

Opening night for Frank Webster’s Margins

I have to attend an earlier opening in Chelsea that night but after that I am open. What advice can you give artists on how to they should approach a gallery?

Well the first piece of advice I would give any artist is to narrow down the playing field. By that I mean go out there and visit the galleries first. See them all and discover the ones that matter the most to you.  Seek out the galleries or alternative venues that exhibit other artists who share a similar vision to yours. Those are probably the handful of galleries you should be focusing on.

Building a career in the arts is all about building relationships and seizing opportunities. One side of this requires patience and a genuine commitment to your own goals and the shared long term goals of your friends or peers. The other side requires a commitment to your craft and the flexibility to grow and adapt to the challenges of an unpredictable art market.

Also, first impressions are everything so in this tech savvy world you better have great and up to date website. It’s going to be the primary way you promote yourself and the likely way curators and exhibitors are going to first encounter your work. Nine times out of ten when we are considering an unfamiliar artist for exhibition at the gallery they have come recommended from artists or gallerists we have worked with in the past or through due diligence were discovered in the archives of web based artist registries such as, White Columns or Perogi among others. The first thing we do in either case is to look at the website.

Most of the Don’ts when approaching a gallery are just common sense. If anything when you have the chance to pitch your work, don’t try to be something you are not. Be realistic but be confident in yourself and be genuine. Nothing means more to someone when you’re trying to build a relationship than that. After that, it’s just a matter of your talent, your style and how hard you are willing to work before you find someone who believes in what you are doing.

Thanks for the great advice. What do you see on the horizon for Jason and The Lodge Gallery?

Well you know everything is always in a state of transformation. I’m excited to see what will become of The Lodge Gallery as we continue to pursue or original mission. As long as Keith and I are free to continue to develop programing that is relevant and engaging and in our own unique voice, and we can keep the gallery a gathering point for the observant and curious to experiment and  debate ideas, you can be certain that it will never be boring. What’s on my horizon? Well if anything my life has never been short of the unexpected or unusual so I can only predict more of my entertaining adventures to follow. Maybe one day soon I’ll get back to Hong Kong for a visit or write a book or something but for now I’m 100% focused on the Lodge and all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the Summer and Fall.  I encourage everyone to come on down to the L.E.S. for a visit to the gallery, I’ll most likely be here ready for a chat about whatever inspires you.

Interview by Jamie Martinez

Photography by Jamie Martinez and The Lodge Gallery

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RESx (The Real Estate Show extended)

April 13, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
ABC No Rio
Rivington Street, New York, NY
United States

Complementing the exhibition at James Fuentes Gallery of original work from the Real Estate Show of 1980, this show features new work on the theme of real estate, land-use, and the right to a safe home.

From the original Real Estate Show Statement of Intent:
“This is a short-term occupation of vacant city-managed property… The occupation and exposition imposes a complex human system where previously there was no system — or only the system of waste and disuse that characterizes the profit system in real estate.”

The original Real Estate Show opened on New Year’s Eve, 1979 at 123 Delancey, now part of the proposed massive Essex Crossing development. The Real Estate Show led the creation of ABC No Rio.

RESx at ABC No Rio
Installation with Reception: April 9 at 7:00pm
Viewing Hours: Sun 2:00 — 5:00pm
Wed & Thrs 4:00 —7:00pm
Exhibition runs through May 8

For further information and additional public events related to this exhibition:

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RESx (The Real Estate Show extended) in NYC 2014

Published on May 3, 2014
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 9th, 5-8 PM

Exhibition Dates: April 9 — May 8, 2014

ABC No Rio
156 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002

Complementing the exhibition at James Fuentes Gallery of original work from the Real Estate Show of 1980, this show features new work on the theme of real estate, land-use, and the right to housing.

For more information on ABC No Rio:

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A Door / Una Puerta

By Julie Harrison

My last post, “A Real Estate Show,” garnered this response from a friend/colleague, and I thought it opportune to respond here.

Julie. ever since I read this blog post a couple of days ago I’ve been thinking about it, there’s something very disturbing, trying to put my finger on it. I think it is this: the dwellings you picture are dwellings, they are homes to actual people who have joys and sorrows, sicknesses and healths, generosities and greed – they are people like the rest of us, not statistics. I know this, I was in that same area many years ago: they are real people like the rest of us. what did you hope our, the readers, response would be? you offer no entrance here…

R, you’re not the only one who has found this post disturbing. “Depressing” is a word I heard. “Relevant” is another, putting our own [“American”] lives “into perspective.” I wanted to remove the subjective voice (just the facts, ma’am) but that’s a way of being subjective too, isn’t it? There are so many stats that I’m still compiling, issues crop up like a Whac-a-Mole and I’m trying to find a way through it myself, it’s a process to be sure.

Let me ask you, would you have felt the same way had I posted luxurious houses, beautiful homes? Would you still need a way to enter?

Statistics do represent real people. I post them to communicate a different picture, an overall demographic that is useful for the reader (and me) to understand particular aspects of a country. In this case, it gives concrete numbers to the poverty, health, education, families, women, work, and the environment in Guatemala, and enables me (and the reader) to put these issues into a new context. This morning, for example, I started noticing how many kids I saw in town that weren’t in school. I hadn’t been aware of that before.

The photographs of the homes I took are in stark contrast to traditional travel photos and blogs, the impetus for which was an invitation to participate in recent exhibitions around the Lower East Side based on a 1980 event, the Real Estate Show, staged by Collaborative Projects (Colab), an artist coalition I was involved with back in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s (see below for backstory). Thanks to Lisa Kahane with the help of Coleen Fitzgibben, my work was printed and installed in absentia.

“‘The Real Estate Show’ What Next?'” at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. Photo: Lisa Kahane

Installation view (vertical column to the left of “Free Speech”) of Real Estate Guatemala by Julie Harrison, 2014, at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. Photo: Lisa Kahane

Numerous rounds of e-mails between former members of Colab on the subject of “Frustration with the ‘Art world’ as a means for accomplishing anything” ensued, some debating the reviews garnered (see also below for links), others festering with old wounds and bravado, seeming (to me) endemic of the insular world we occupy in NYC (and the United States).

We forget about the bigger picture sometimes, and living here in Guatemala (or traveling almost anywhere outside the United States, for that matter), helps me understand myself better. I’ve mentioned in this blog the conflicts I have with my “privilege,” whether it’s being educated, light-skinned or middle-class. As an aging hippie, I tend to romanticize the “other” in my travels, and sometimes epitomize a Third-Worldist view, much to my confusion.

When I read other “blogs” about Guatemala, they focus on monuments, history, food, entertainment, culture, recreation, beauty, people, and fun! Good restaurants, cheap or luxury hotels, the expat life! This post was meant as a reality that a lot of people who travel don’t talk about.

I’ve been reflecting on the global refugee crisis, which is probably one of the most troublesome issues to me right now, and how it relates to climate change. There are connections, for example, between the current Syrian war and the preceding years-long drought there that forced so many to become refuges before the war. I shudder to think about what will happen in my children’s lifetime as climate change prevails. But there are so many other problems these days to consider as well, and poverty is a huge one!

Now for the backstory (from the press release): Colab broke into “a vacant city-owned building at 123-125 Delancey St. on December 30,1979 and installed the Real Estate Show on New Year’s Eve, questioning city policies on housing and development. The police closed the exhibition Jan. 2, 1980.

Real Estate Show” flyer by Becky Howland, 1979

Scene outside the “Real Estate Show” with police guarding city workers nailing the doors shut following the eviction of the artists, 1980. “Octopus Mural” by Becky Howland. Photo: Lawrence Lehmann

“Negotiations with Colab artists and the City led to the NYC Dept. of Buildings exchanging another city-owned building at 156 Rivington St. to the artists as an alternative to 125 Delancey. Colab artists developed 156 Rivington as the ongoing arts space ABC No Rio, which is still running after 34 years. 

Exterior of ABC No Rio’s “Animals Living in Cities” show with dog stencils by Anton Van Dalen,1980. Photo: Anton Van Dalen

“Meanwhile, 125 Delancey is now a vacant lot waiting to be developed by the Essex Crossing/ Seward Park Urban Renewal (SPURA), which will include a new Warhol Museum. To commemorate this affirmative history between artists, New York City and our new Mayor, there are five galleries presenting exhibitions.”


“The Real Estate Show, Was Then… Is Now” exhibition of the original 1980 Real Estate Show artwork; opened Friday April 4th: 6-8 pm James Fuentes Gallery 55 Delancey St (Allen/Eldridge Sts), New York, NY 10002

Installation view, ‘The Real Estate Show Revisited’ at James Fuentes (image courtesy James Fuentes and the artists), 2014

“RESx: Real Estate Show Extended” opened Weds. April 9th, 7-10pm, ABC No Rio 156 Rivington St (Suffolk/Clinton Sts.), New York, NY 10002. Open call to artists to bring disposable real estate related art through April, including media events. Contact steven@abcnorio.orgfor dates & times:

“No City An Island” opened Thurs. April 10, 6-8 pm, The Lodge Gallery at 131 Chrystie Street between Delancey and Broome Sts. on the Lower East Side.

“The Real Estate Show, What Next: 2014” opened Weds. April 18, 5-7pm; Cuchifritos Gallery/Essex St. Market 120 Essex St. New York, NY 10002; art show and performances. Contact for event times,

“In and Around Collaborative Projects” at Spectacle Theater, 124 South 3rd St. Brooklyn, NY, 11211, real estate show related film screenings in May 2014; contact for dates/times,


“A Legendary Guerilla Exhibit, ‘The Real Estate Show,’ Is Revived in a Proper Gallery” by  Daniel Maurer,

“Putting the ‘No’ in ‘Nostalgia’” by Robert C. Morgan, Hyperallergic, April 23, 2014,

“A Legendary Guerilla Exhibit, ‘The Real Estate Show,’ Is Revived in a Proper Gallery” by Daniel Maurer, Bedford + Bowery, April 7, 2014,

“’The Real Estate Show’ Slideshow and Commentary” by Whitney Kimball, Art Fag City, April 8, 2014,

“The Real Estate Show: Was Then” by Ken Johnson, The New York Times, April 2014,

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