The right to the city is a cultural right as much as it is a political and social one. Over the past fifty years, capitalism has dramatically changed the character and rhythm of the city. As rents have gone up and schools have been neglected and privatized, our alienation from urban environments has been underlined. This is illustrated and concentrated in the relationship of both governments working and poor people to art.
As the urban core is gentrified, struggling artists, musicians and writers are displaced alongside people of color and the poor. Even as mid-level and DIY art and performance spaces are shuttered and culture workers struggle from lack of government spending on the arts, artists and their art are frequently used (consciously and/or unconsciously) as a key part in gentrification projects. Recent protests of art galleries expanding into working-class neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color underline the problem. This panel, featuring Alexander Billet, Magally Miranda-Alcazar and Adam Turl, presented by Red Wedge at the Left Coast Forum in Los Angeles on August 26th, 2018, sought to examine this phenomenon and the role that artists can play in pushing back against it.
Alexander Billet is a writer and cultural critic. He was a founding editor of Red Wedge and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Magally Miranda-Alcazar is a Los Angeles based anti-gentrification activist, editor at Viewpoint magazine, and PhD candidate at UCLA, working at the intersection of Chicana/o Studies and Marxist critical theory.
Adam Turl is an artist, art and design editor at Red Wedge and an adjunct at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. His website is evictedart.com.