In a stroke of genius, and intense irony, Ms. Lewis because a street art project in which she had caution tape printed with "Gentrification in Progress." She sold and placed the tape all over gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn where lower income people and businesses were being forced out due to skyrocketing rents.
In the article, she speaks about some street art she and some of her contemporaries did in the East Village in NY,
"Last year, Lewis and other street artists held a show in an East Village building that was set for demolition to make way for luxury condos. She recreated the kitchen of a family who had lived there, then smashed it to pieces with a sledgehammer that bore the label “progress.”"
Here's the inherent and sad irony of her piece and of this article.
It is precisely this type of brilliant street/performance art that CREATES the gentrification the artist intended to combat.
In short, Ann Lewis is the REASON people want to move into her neighborhood. She makes the neighborhood edgy, trendy and FAR more valuable, with her decoration, to the young, middle class that will eventually force her to move out of the neighborhood she helped to create.
What's the moral of my story?
If you are in a city like, Baltimore, DC, Detroit, New Orleans or Philly you will see some art that will stop you by some artists more talented than you or I will ever be - and that should be beautiful.
But I wonder, what would you say if you knew that the face on that vacant is that of an old man who can no longer afford to live in the building that is now decorated with his features?