Last night I was at an opening at LoBe art space, at a small project space in Wedding. After closing the gallery we went to a pub across the street. Some of the kids running the place asked me whether I was conscious of we were accelerating gentrification. By showing art that is of no interest to the people who live in the neighborhood we would attract people with money who would start moving there. Well, probably true. They explained to me that they had bought the house with the pub and were running it as an alternative space and that that they were showing art too, but only art produced by locals. They pointed out that the neighborhood management had communicated in flyers that they were trying to “improve” the neighborhood by giving cheap space to (non-commercial) art galleries. In other words: The clueless artists are being used. Point made. However, I thought that the place with the alternative kids did just as much to make the area attractive for people like myself. More so anyway, than some of the other establishments in the neighborhood, like the gambling place next door, which again are probably a lot more popular amongst a majority of the neighbors, than a bar with windows covered with wooden panels and a lesbian band playing in the back. Catch 22.
Note: The space of LoBe is actually not rented but privately owned and–while probably very welcome–not funded or aided by the neighborhood management.