Imagining De-Gentrified Futures

curated by Betty Yu

Betty Yu, De-Gentrifying My Parents' Block, 2020

New York City's working class and communities of color have been devastated by gentrification in the last fifteen years. Is it possible to disrupt the dominant narratives that depict gentrification as "inevitable" and a "natural" part of urban evolution—monolithic assertions that often come from real estate speculators, developers, extractive industries and the 1%? How can we harness our collective resources and trace a new trajectory that allows communities to flourish without being priced out of their neighborhoods? Drawing inspiration from anti-gentrification resistance across the U.S., decolonization movements, and Afrofuturism, this show will give permission to imagine, to dream, to unleash and explore ways in which socially-just futures can exist for city communities. Featuring works by artists, activists, cultural workers, urban planners and scholars, this exhibition aims to rethink the assumed trajectory of urban development.
Betty Yu is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, educator, and activist born and raised in NYC to Chinese immigrant parents. Ms. Yu integrates documentary film, new media platforms, and community-infused approaches into her practice, and she is a co-founder Chinatown Art Brigade, a cultural collective using art to advance anti-gentrification organizing. Ms. Yu has been awarded artist residencies and Fellowships with institutions such as the Laundromat Project, International Studio & Curatorial Program, the Intercultural Leadership Institute, and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Her work has been presented at the Directors Guild of America, Brooklyn Museum, Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, Tribeca Film Festival's Interactive Showcase, The Eastman Kodak Museum, and the 2019 BRIC Biennial; and in 2018 she had a solo exhibition at Open Source Gallery in New York. In 2017 Ms. Yu won the Aronson Journalism for Social Justice Award for her film Three Tours about U.S. veterans returning home from war in Iraq, and their journey to overcome PTSD. She holds a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA from Hunter College, and currently teaches video, social practice, art and activism at Pratt Institute, John Jay College, and The New School, in addition to 20 her years of community, media justice, and labor organizing work.
apexart’s program supporters past and present include the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.