Volume 78 / Number 18 - October 1 - 7, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower
East Side, Since 1933

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

At left, gallerygoers checked out the art inside the “pop-up” gallery, while, at right, John Penley, right, spoke with a man who said he ran the place.

Protest money pasted up on ‘pop-up’ gallery windows

By Jefferson Siegel

Noted London gallery owner Steve Lazarides opening a “pop-up” gallery on Friday night in a former restaurant supply store on the Bowery and Houston Sts. got not props but a protest from the L.E.S. Slacktivists.

Head Slacktivist John Penley, the event’s organizer, said he saw another threat of gentrification in displaying work by artists who have had their pieces sell for millions of dollars.

Penley’s protest took the form of taping real dollar bills to the window of the temporary gallery, with words printed on the bills, such as “No Value,” “Revolt” and “It’s Only Paper.”

A handful of supporters stood outside with Penley while a steady stream of visitors entered the gallery.

At one point, a man who said he was running the show but wouldn’t give his name came outside to talk with Penley.

“We’re temporary,” the man said congenially. “I was cool with you doing it [taping dollar bills to the window], I just don’t want our entire windows covered.”

Longtime Lower East Side photographer and documentarian Clayton Patterson joined the dialogue.

“You stepped into the middle of a political situation,” Patterson informed the unidentified man, noting the gallery could further escalate already-high rents in the area, forcing out struggling artists. “You’re a part of the real estate war whether you know it or not,” Patterson added.

After several minutes a young man and woman walked up to the window and quickly began snatching the dollar bills off of it.

Penley watched, laughing.

“It’s an experiment,” he said, reaching into his pocket for more bills. “I wanted to see if anyone would take it...and they did.”

“The Outsiders, New York” will run daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Oct. 12. There is no charge for admission. On exhibit are works from Faile, Paul Insect, JR, Anthony Micallef, Jonathan Yeo and Miranda Donavan.

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