Artists Space

Urban Space/The City as Place

September 26 – November 9, 1991

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 26, 1991, 6 - 8:00 pm

Artists Space is pleased to present Urban Space/The City as Place, a selection of recent films and videotapes that consider the contemporary urban environment and urban activism. Focusing on the Northeastern urban milieu, works in the exhibition consider such topics as redevelopment, real estate markets, and demographic shifts as well as the variety of "places" in the city, from neighborhoods to districts, from parks to buildings. The program challenges a decade of architectural discourse that asserts the need to design the social. Urban Space/The City as Place suggests that the city is always a social space and represents an ongoing dialogue among activists, artists, city planners and city dwellers about the conditions of the places where they live and work.

The video program screens Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00 and includes:

Housing Preservation Public Service Announcements
C-Hundred Film Corporation (5 minutes, 1990)

This is a History of New York (The Golden Dark Age of Reason)
Jem Cohen (23 minutes, 1988)

Excerpts from videotapes by RENEW, a Williamsburg community planning and activist group, by Peter Gillespie, Hank Lindhardt, and Jon Rubin.

Metropolitan Avenue
Christine Noschese (49 minutes, 1985)

The Survival of Small City
Nancy Salzer and Pablo Frasconi (55 minutes, 1987)

The March of Time
Jason Simon (15 minutes, 1985)

American Dreaming
Michael Penland (57 minutes, 1990)

The Squatter's Blues
Marcia Wilson (4 minutes, 1990)

Urban Space/The City as Place spans genres to include documentary films and videotapes, activist video interventions and visionary representations of the city. Documentaries featured in Urban Space include: Nancy Salzer and Pablo Frasconi's Survival of a Small City, which examines a once thriving New England town before and after "revitalization"; Christine Noschese's Metropolitan Avenue documents the struggles of a community of women who organize and respond to cutbacks and racial tension that threaten their community and Michael Fenland's American Dreaming reports the devastating effects of the Atlantic City casino industry on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Activists interventions in the program include the work of Marcia Wilson, RENEW (Peter Gillespie, Hank Lindhardt and Jon Rubin) and the C-Hundred Film Corporation. Wilson's Squatter's Blues uses an 8mm camcorder to produce an intimate document of the demise of a squat on 8th Street in New York City and suggests the activist potential of video intervention. Peter Gillespie, Hank Lindhardt and Jon Rubin document the work of RENEW, a Williamsburg's community-based planning group that develops strategies for coping with commercial and private threats to the neighborhood. The C-Hundred Film Corporation's Housing Preservation PSAs are innovative broadcast interventions advocating on behalf of improved urban housing and planning.
Experimental reflections on the urban environment include Jem Cohen's This is a History of New York, which suggests the arcane beauty of the city through architectural details and the movements of people through the metropolis and Jason Simon's The March of Time, which reflects on the urban environment in a minimalist contemplation of Times Square on the eve of the area's proposed redevelopment.

Urban Space/The City as Place will be accompanied by a publication featuring an essay by program organizer Molly Hankwitz.

Molly Hankwitz is a critic, writer, activist, poet, architect, public artist and feminist whose publications have appeared in Artforum and Inland Architect. She studied architecture at Yale University and is a recent graduate of the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program.

Artists Space programs are made possible by: the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; AT&T Foundation, Inc., The David Bermant Foundation: Color, Light, Motion, The Behen Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc., Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Jerome Foundation, The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc., The Joe and Emily Lowe Foundation, Inc., The Menemsha Fund, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, Betty Parsons Foundation, The Reed Foundation, Inc., The Rockefeller Foundation, The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.; American Express Company, The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., Equitable Real Estate Group, Inc., R.H. Macy and Company, Inc., Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, Philip Morris Companies Inc., and U.S. Trust Company of New York; as well as Artwatch, Galleries in Support of Artists Space, Members and numerous Friends. Artists Space is a member of the National Association of Artists Organizations (NAAO) and the National Alliance of Media Arts Centers (NAMAC) and Media Alliance.