About this Event
Activist Estates: A Radical History of Property in Loisaida is an exploration of buildings and properties in the Lower East Side that are celebrated sites of resistance. This exhibition curated and designed by the Architect Nandini Bagchee in partnership with Loisaida Center visualizes the narratives of a historic space-based activism via drawings, maps, models, photographs, manuals and posters.
An examination of participatory practices in New York City reveals the critical relationship between real estate, architecture and activism. In cities across the country, in the 1970’s, the devaluation of property created a vacuum of ownership. Vacant lots, storefronts, schoolhouses, factories and abandoned tenements in New York City became havens for experimental, communal practices. Amid current debates about urban justice and access to the city, Activist Estates critically re-evaluates the place of counter-institutional practices that shape the landscape of New York City.
The exhibit features the drawings of Nandini Bagchee and the photography of David McReynolds, Ed Hedemann, Marlis Momber and Jade Doskow. It also highlights the work of collectives such as CHARAS, PAD/D, REPOhistory, Paper Tiger TV, ABC NO Rio and the dedicated artists/ organizers that have created posters, banners, buttons, newsletters and films that advocate for social justice, housing, community and the environment within the Lower East Side.
This project is supported by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and is part of Archtober. The materials for the exhibition are courtesy of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Urban Democracy Lab, War Resisters League, Clemente Soto Velez and Cooper Square MHA.
Nandini Bagchee is an Associate Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY (CUNY) and principal of Bagchee Architects. Her research focuses on activism in architecture and the ways in which ground-up collaborative building practices provide an alternative medium for the creation of public space. Nandini is the author of a recently published book on the history of activist-run spaces in New York City entitled, Counter Institution: Activist Estates of the Lower East Side (Fordham University Press, 2018). Her built-work and writing has been published in the New York Times, Interiors Now, Urban Omnibus and the Journal of Architectural Education. She is the recipient of grants from the Graham Foundation, New York State Council of the Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her research-based design work involves an ongoing engagement with politically active organizations such as the South Bronx Unite, Sites of Conscience, Interference Archive, Cooperation Jackson and the Loisaida Center.
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