The history of the area now called SoHo is itself a history of uneven development. In the last few hundred years, the area transitioned from farmland to homes to industrial spaces. Deindustrialization into the 1950s left abandoned factories that artists would eventually make into the city’s first lofts. These artists would eventually fight to legalize their loft arrangements. While some became wealthy, others became victims of their own success, as a new generation of Wall Street traders bought into the loft lifestyle from the 1980s on and displaced many who had not been lucky enough to buy the spaces.
Today, the area, especially farther west, continues to undergo uneven development as part of New York City’s mad dash to be luxury space for the few. New converted factory spaces open almost weekly, it seems. They’re available to the highest bidder, but if you lived here, you’d be in someone else’s home by now.
14×48 has announced another project called “If You Lived Here” by artists Anthea Behm and Avi Alpert. The billboard, posted on the corner of Spring and Hudson streets between the Tribeca and SoHo neighborhoods of Manhattan, reads “If you lived here…you’d be in someone else’s home by now.” In subverting the common real estate advertising slogan, “If you lived here, you’d be home by now,” Alpert and Behm ask viewers to reflect on what it means to be “home” in a city of massive and ongoing gentrification and displacement.
About the Artists
Avram Alpert is a Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil and a postdoc at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University. He has a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in Critical Studies. With Sreshta Rit Premnath, he co-edited the Dictionary of the Possible. Avram also has a forthcoming SUNY Press book called “The Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki“.
Anthea Behm received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent solo exhibitions include Paris, London, Hong Kong, Chicago, Atlanta and Sydney. Her work has been discussed in The New York Times, Temporary Art Review, X-TRA , and Kaleidoscope. . Anthea has participated in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, the Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Behm is currently the guest editor of Daily Lazy, and Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
14×48 repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order to create more opportunities in public art for emerging artists, to challenge emerging artists to engage more with public art, and to enliven the vibrancy of our urban environment. It’s projects has been made possible by individuals and the NY Community Trust, Lamar Outdoor, and Red Rock Outdoor. 14×48’s Billboard Season 2018 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. 14×48 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts service organization.
Visiting the Installation
The billboard is located on the west-facing wall of 286 Spring Street in Manhattan. For more information please visit the 14×48 website here.