Chinatown Revolt

Chinatown Revolt. The Architect's Newspaper, Mar. 4, 2016.

“It’s possible because this area was not protected,” Jei Fong said. “It’s an as-of-right building, but it’s really the zoning protections that prevent these things from happening.”

Surrounded on every side by public housing and low-income tenants, and built on an urban renewal site purchased for $103 million formerly occupied by a Pathmark grocery store, it will be joined by a separate 13-story “poor door” building designed by Dattner Architects, providing the required 205 affordable units. (Pegged at 60 percent of the area median income, a two-bedroom would start at $1,081.)

At Gracie Mansion, activists demanded a new model. They dubbed 252 South Street the “Extell Tower from Hell” and donated its photo to Mayor de Blasio on a placard. “We have a gift for you,” they shouted. “You are evil to give us this building. We reject it, and we are giving it back.”

Flint Architects Find Water Crisis and Infrastructure Issues Create More Questions

Flint Architects Find Water Crisis and Infrastructure Issues Create More Questions, Curbed, Feb. 25, 2016.

"The reality is, it could've happened to any Midwest rustbelt city, which all have infrastructure from the same time period, built with the same materials that we do for the delivery system," Shannon White says.

"There are going to be things happening for years to come that we are unaware of yet," John Gazall says. "The unknown is kind of the scary part right now. We can fix the water issue, but it's the other thing we can't fix, which is the perception."

How to See Other People

How to See Other People, Infinite Mile Detroit, Feb. 2016.

"Try this experiment: Next time you are out in public, make a concentrated effort to see every person. Keep focusing your attention on each person until your eyes connect. The simple gesture of looking with interest and curiosity often transforms the other’s bearing, triggering a certain lightness and recognition, and transporting a feeling of connection and community. The experiment is easier in a pedestrian-friendly city, where a large amount of time in public is spent outside of an automobile, yet it can as easily be replicated walking through crowds at events, at grocery stores and restaurants, anywhere you encounter strangers from other backgrounds, of other body types, and with different senses of style and class affiliation."


Digging into Detroit's Future: Ecological designers use agriculture and landscape to reclaim their cityThe Architect's Newspaper, Oct. 27, 2015.

"All summer, a lively cavalcade of events and performances testified to a reawakened cosmopolitanism in Detroit and proclaimed a community that is growing in size and complexity. Detroit’s 139 square miles are suddenly teeming with contemporary art, design, and development activity. The projects are no longer isolated but connect larger tracts: the Jam Handy industrial film production building-turned-performance space hosts a temporary Sunday market, around the corner from the ONE Mile funk revivalist project by Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges, with Catie Newell’s studio halfway between. A land rush has begun in the area."


Photo: Christof Kohlhofer
Places Journal published the first excerpt of A Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, the book I started in 2009, inspired by an interview with Kyong Park for Metropolis Magazine.

It's about a moment just after the Iranian revolution and just before Ronald Reagan was elected when New York was at a critical turning point and a group of artists broke into a city-owned building to install an activist exhibition about art and real estate. Thank you Alan W. Moore, Becky Howland, Peter Moennig, Ann Messner, Gh Hovagimyan, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Robin Winters, Lisa Kahane, Stefan Eins, Joe Lewis, Jane Dickson, Liza Bear, Michael McClard, and dozens of others for your time and help. This is only a small part of the story.

"The week before New Year’s, the artists had put their own lock on the door. Boat-sized GMs, Fords, and Chryslers sped down Delancey Street onto the Williamsburg Bridge. Tom Otterness stood on the corner of Essex Street, watching for police. Halfway down the block, Alan Moore and Peter Moennig huddled at the doorstep of a vacant furniture showroom. Moore took the firefighter boltcutters from Becky Howland’s guitar case, clasped the metal ring of the padlock, tightened his grip, and leaned forward, squeezing the long steel handles."

Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant

Video still by Garret Linn

Stephen Zacks has been awarded a Creative Capital| Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for his forthcoming book, A Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, 1967-1985.

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants issued directly to individual authors. The first program of its kind, it was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program issues awards for articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing projects and aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.

Through all its grants, regardless of topic or project type, the Arts Writers Grant Program aims to honor and encourage writing about art that is rigorous, passionate, eloquent, and precise; in which a keen engagement with the present is infused with an appreciation of the historical; that is neither afraid to take a stand nor content to deliver authoritative pronouncements, but serves rather to pose questions and generate new possibilities for thinking about, seeing, and making art; that is sensitive to both the importance and difficulty of situating aesthetic objects within their broader social and political contexts; that does not dilute or sidestep complex ideas but renders accessible their meaning and value; that creatively challenges the limits of existing conventions, without valorizing novelty as an end in itself.

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program is spearheaded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as part of its broader Arts Writing Initiative and is administered by Creative Capital.

This project has also been supported by NY State Council on the Arts, Graham Foundation for the Advancement of the Fine Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. It is tentatively planned for publication in 2013 by Inventory Books/ Princeton Architectural Press.

Can Residents Influence Patterns of Development?

Important to Emphasize in Bold: Greenpoint is being rapidly popularized among college-educated postsuburban migrants to New York City. The area is on the cusp of a kind of accelerated demographic change experienced by neighborhoods like Soho, the Lower East Side, and Williamsburg. What will the consequences be for the community, can its residents influence patterns of capital formation—and should they even try? RIPP Magazine, Spring, 2012.