Brooklyn: Where Art and Real Estate Collide

April 5th, 2016 11:54 AM by Nelson Aybar


The ever-changing landscape of Brooklyn’s real estate market has found itself as the center of an art show. From brownstone renovations to luxury high rises springing up in the neighborhood, the borough has seen a dramatic and rapid transformation. While there are some who are thrilled with the new developments and improvements in town, there exists a tension that between lifelong residents and the new blood that is bringing rapid change to the neighborhood. The art show explores the changing demographics of the neighborhoods, the American dream of home-ownership and the language used in advertisements to attract residents.

Art by Becky Brown

Titled, “Artistic Developments: Artists and the Language of Real Estate” and hosted by The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation ”, the show aims to “feature artists appropriating the techniques of real estate advertising in order to comment on the state of development in NYC and beyond,” according to the NARS press release. The show is on exhibit until April 8, 2016 at the NARS Foundation, located at 201 46th Street 4th Floor in Brooklyn and is free and open to the public.

Art by Daniel Bejar.

Curated by Katherine Gressel, winner of the 2015 NARS Emerging Curator Program Open Call, the exhibition has drawn interest from the art community and real estate professionals alike. Gressel, a native New Yorker who has lived in Brooklyn since 2006, has seen a wave of transformation over the past decade. Most of her work has focused on the intersection of urban planning, its impact on local communities and the gentrification that has come as a result of new buildings.

“I have seen a profusion of advertising,” she said, “I wanted to focus on how real estate developers use advertising and make a lot of promises.” Indeed, has noted that in 2013, one-third of real estate purchases were made, “solely on floor plans and renderings in developments that'll take years to complete.” And when will those renderings be completed? And will they be completed as promised? Those are still lingering questions on buyers’ and neighbors’ minds.

Starting in 2009, Gressel has made gentrification and urban planning the center of her work as a curator. She has curated exhibits around income inequality (including projects on tenants rights) at other venues and is happy about the exposure that “Artistic Developments” will bring to the artists who are features in the exhibit.

Art by Leslie Kerby.

Utilizing real estate advertisements and 3-D reconstructions of buildings, the exhibit features the work of eight artists. When combined into one show, these artists create a compelling narrative about the dynamics of real estate in Brooklyn and beyond. From juxtaposing Greenpoint’s older aesthetic to the new construction springing up in the neighborhood to examining how “properties (are) being described as aspirational…a thing that defines you—a selfie so to speak,” says artist Leslie Kerby, the show touches on many hot-button topics in Brooklyn communities.

From the show’s Opening Night on March 11, 2016, when Gressel gave a Curator’s Talk, the reception has been genuinely positive. What surprised Gressel the most was how well the professionals within the real estate community responded to the show.

“I thought they might be offended,” she said. “Instead, it seemed like they not only understood what the artists were saying through their work, but they saw the humor in the juxtapositions themselves.”

Art by Lisa Dahl.

Posted in:General
Posted by Nelson Aybar on April 5th, 2016 11:54 AM