Activist Estates: A Radical History of Property in Loisaida is an exploration of buildings and properties in the Lower East Side that are celebrated sites of resistance. This exhibition curated and designed by the Architect Nandini Bagchee in partnership with Loisaida Center visualizes the narratives of a historic space-based activism via drawings, maps, models, photographs, manuals and posters.
An examination of participatory practices in New York City reveals the critical relationship between real estate, architecture and activism. In cities across the country, in the 1970’s, the devaluation of property created a vacuum of ownership. Vacant lots, storefronts, schoolhouses, factories and abandoned tenements in New York City became havens for experimental, communal practices. Amid current debates about urban justice and access to the city, Activist Estates critically re-evaluates the place of counter-institutional practices that shape the landscape of New York City.
The exhibit features the drawings of Nandini Bagchee and the photography of David McReynolds, Ed Hedemann, Marlis Momber and Jade Doskow. It also highlights the work of collectives such as CHARAS, PAD/D, REPOhistory, Paper Tiger TV, ABC NO Rio and the dedicated artists/ organizers that have created posters, banners, buttons, newsletters and films that advocate for social justice, housing, community and the environment within the Lower East Side.
This project is supported by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and is part of Archtober. The materials for the exhibition are courtesy of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Urban Democracy Lab, War Resisters League, Clemente Soto Velez and Cooper Square MHA.