A few days ago over at Greenpointers I posted pictures I took of vacant storefronts in Greenpoint with an introductory text of the following:
“Greenpoint vacant storefronts are my prey at the moment as I try to turn them into temporary pop up art shows. There sure ain’t a shortage of spaces and I took the opportunity to photograph them in hopes that: owner will get exposure to potential renters/buyers, and would be grateful enough to lend me their space for free rather than being stubborn and disinterested. Here is part I, can you guess the crosstreets?”
The next day the lady behind the blog emailed me saying she received a slew of hate comments and had to take the post down. She said “It’s a little touchy about showing vacant spots in the neighborhood and wanting get them to give free space for art installations…Greenpoint is losing a lot of the old stuff and making it an art space doesn’t jive well with people…”
I initially wanted to take pictures of the vacant storefronts to document and contact and figured why not collect these images and put it up on the blog? I didn’t consider the fact that it might hurt some residents, especially a place like Bee’s where history and childhood memories keep the place in tact and would hurt a lot of people to see it turned into a haughty art show. I definitely can sympathize with this and was insensitive to it at first, more like ignorant of the fact that I am a transplant in their neighborhood and would be intruding a firm pride and history of a neighborhood full of its original residents.
But what really hurts me is the fact that these residents don’t really care about art. And that’s understandable as well. It’s been very difficult calling all these landlords in the neighborhood and they hang up with no interest at all whatsoever. They just want to remove the vacant sign and receive a monthly check and get on with life. My intentions with this pop up art show project is to ignite a sense of community not just amongst the hipster creative art types in Greenpoint but also with the originial Greenpointers, the Polish, the families, the hipsters, the yuppies, etc. I saw it as a sustainability tactic, a unifying effort that benefits not only the artists being shown but the land owner whose space would receive foot traffic and more visibility of the vacancy and bring in potential renters. The reason I say free is because I’d have no budget and its a marketing tactic in a way for them. I’m doubting this project as the weeks progress but I just thought I’d share this here. Below are some of the pictures. I’m not done collecting them yet.