With punk rock bars being turning into banks and indie night bazaars being displaced by luxury automakers, it’s no secret that even some of NYC’s once-seediest spots are undergoing a wave of gentrification. Bushwick-based artist Ann Lewis (a.k.a. Gilf!) hit the streets this week to call attention to some of the city’s most notorious gentrification casualties by wrapping them with bright yellow “Gentrification In Progress” crime tape. Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Night Bazaar, which was recently purchased by BMW, and 190 Bowery, the iconic Germania Bank building bought by real estate mogul Aby Rosen, were two of the prime targets.
It seems the well-known street artist holds quite the grudge against Rosen due to a false public invitation to view an art show at 190 Bowery – a popular graffiti site before the sale – where some visitors were turned away by security. “As a street artist, I create art for the public,” Lewis told Gothamist. “If you say there’s going to be a public art show, and then there’s a security detail, that’s one more snub towards the public in that neighborhood.”
The determined artist worked throughout the night on Monday, wrapping 190 Bowery with about 800 feet of her specially made caution tape. She then biked her way to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar to close off the sidewalk and apparently, the construction crew dismantling the interior politely stepped around her work. She also hit up a pop-up shop on the corner of Spring and Mott and Williamsburg’s J.Crew and Apple stores.
Lewis, who has been using her Gentrification in Progress tape around the city for over a year, says that her art medium of choice is both visual and experiential. “Part of what I like about police tape, is that it forces people to walk around things, and to be barred away from things,” she says. “It inadvertently forces people out of a place—it’s a physical manifestation of a social problem.”
Images via Gothamist courtesy of Gilf!