Studio space race: Artists look back on five years of gentrification

Studio space race: Artists look back on five years of gentrification
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

They’re painting by numbers.

Artists who put on the hot-button show “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks” in 2010 are revisiting the ever-pertinent issue of rising rents with a talk about their own Kings County real estate experiences at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The original exhibition garnered a lot of attention — and prompted fierce online debate — and the organizer said the paintings coming down was just the beginning.

“We had this conversation five years ago, and now I want to explore how their lives have changed in the past five years,” said curator Dexter Wimberly, who organized both events. “I want to hear what their challenges are related to housing and studio space and all the other things that go along with living in a place that is gentrifying so quickly.”

The panel, set for March 17, will include Oasa Sun DuVerney, Nathan Kensinger, and Sarah Nelson Wright, all of whom had work in the original show, as well as Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art director James Bartlett.

The economic situation for working artists has only gotten more dire since the group last saw each other, Wimberly said.

“Back then, people were still debating the implication of things like the Barclays Center or the mall on Flatbush Avenue,” said Wimberly, who was born in Brooklyn in 1973.

The original exhibit ran at the African diaspora museum for four months and featured more than 20 artists. He plans to invite each of them to sit in the audience at the talk.

“At the very least, it will make for a very lively Q&A session,” he said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

“The Gentrification of Brooklyn Five Years Later” at the Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222–4111, www.brooklynhistory.org]. March 17 at 6:30 pm. Free.