Imagining De-Gentrified Futures

curated by Betty Yu

Betty Yu, De-Gentrifying My Parents' Block, 2020
  • Artists:
    Black Quantum Futurism
    Imani Jacqueline Brown
    Sandra de la Loza
    Chinatown Art Brigade
    Robin Holder
    Betty Yu
    Radical Housing Manifestos:
      Thomas Angotti
      Alicia Grullon
      Hate Free Zone
      Lynn Lewis,
      The Picture the Homeless Oral
      History Project

      Antoinette Martinez,
      Protect Sunset Park
      Robert Robinson
      Pati Rodriguez,
      Mi Casa No Es Su Casa
      Samuel Stein
      Sunset Park Popular Assembly

  • Betty Yu curator interview, 2020
Working class communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color across U.S. cities have been disproportionately impacted by hyper-gentrification and displacement over the last fifteen years.

Is it possible to disrupt 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%? Can we harness our collective resources and trace a new trajectory that allows communities to flourish without being priced out of our neighborhoods?

Imagining De-gentrified Futures is an interactive exhibition attempting to imagine socially-just futures for our cities and aiming to rethink the assumed trajectory of urban development. Drawing inspiration from antigentrification resistance across the U.S., decolonization movements, and Afrofuturism, this exhibition gives permission to imagine, to dream, to unleash and explore ways in which socially-just futures can exist for city communities.

Works on view take a variety of approaches to examine and suggest strategies for the challenges in cities like Hollywood, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York City's Chinatown and Brooklyn's Sunset Park.
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. Her work has been presented at the Brooklyn Museum, Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, Tribeca Film Festival's Interactive Showcase, The Eastman Kodak Museum, and the 2019 BRIC Biennial. 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.


Imani Jacqueline Brown, The Beginning and The End and The Beginning Again, 2019-2020, Digital image, Dimensions variable.

Chinatown Art Brigade/Louis Chan, Here to Stay, 2016, Site-specific projection, Dimensions variable.


Black Quantum Futurism, Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly 002 — Black Space Agency, 2019, Installation with printed images, clocks, watches, ephemera, Dimensions Variable (detail)

Black Quantum Futurism, All Time Is Local, 2019, Digital video, 4:59 min (still).


Robin Holder, We Are Here, 2019, Colored pencil, acrylic paint, archival inkjet print, 54 x 44 in.

Sandra de la Loza, The Speculator's Eden, 2019, Interactive installation, Dimensions variable.

Betty Yu, De-Gentrifying My Parents' Block, 2020, Digital image, 76 x 13 in.


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, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.