Earlier this year, when the East Village’s beloved Stage Restaurant closed in the wake of a dispute with its landlord Icon Realty Management, Brooklyn-based artist Gilf! plastered the diner’s former home with caution tape reading “Gentrification in Progress.” It wasn’t the first time one of the company’s properties was the site of artistic protest: Karen Platt, a resident of an Icon-owned building on East 5th Street, has been known to chalk up the sidewalk with messages like “Enough Is Enough,” and over July 4th weekend, someone spray-painted a message on the sidewalk in front of the now for-rent Stage space that advised, “DO NOT RENT HERE. DO NOT BUY HERE. BOYCOTT IN EFFECT.”
Joe Ficalora and his ragtag collection of street artists at the Bushwick Collective have been turning the neighborhood’s dreary industrial walls into what amounts to an en plein air gallery. Now, for the first time, the Collective takes its talent indoors for a grown-up exhibition as part of Bushwick Open Studios.
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