The Real Estate Show
Manifesto or Statement of Intent
Committee for the Real Estate Show, 1980

Printed and distributed to exhibiting artists at planning meetings for the Real Estate Show

The occupation and exposition imposes a complex human system where previously there was no system -- or only the system of waste and disuse that characterizes the profit system in real estate. It is to create a showcase for desires, to reassert the primacy of human effort, to encourage the resistance of commercial initiatives, to allot extra portion to the increment of human fantasy that lives in all people, however much they may have been reduced to markets, ethnic power blocs, or "problems" of one kind or another. For artists, it is a question of getting out of police. There are so many "representatively structured" spaces for exhibitions. The policies of these headmasters, these backstraddlers in pinstripe, are not in tune with the aims and ideals of artists. This is a field test of a collective working situation -- putting the collaborative process to the test of the initial set-up, and a pressure test of solidarity in terms of a pre-emptive extralegal action taken together.




This is a short-term occupation of vacant city-managed property.

The action is extralegal -- it illuminates no legal issues, calls for no "rights." It is pre-emptive and insurrectionary.

The action is dedicated to Elizabeth Mangum, a middle-aged Black American killed by police and marshals as she resisted eviction in Flatbush last year.

The intention of this action is to show that artists are willing and able to place themselves and their work squarely in a context which shows solidarity with oppressed people, a recognition that mercantile and institutional structures oppress and distort artists' lives and works, and a recognition that artists, living and working in depressed communities, are compradors in the revaluation of property and the "whitening" of neighborhoods.

It is important to focus attention on the way artists get used as pawns by greedy white developers.

It is important for artists to express solidarity with Third World and oppressed people.

It is important to show that people are not helpless -- they can express their resentment with things-as-they-are in a way that is constructive, exemplary, and interesting.

It is important to try to bridge the gap between artists and working people by putting artwork on a boulevard level.

It is important to do something dramatic that is neither commercially oriented nor institutionally quarantined -- a groundswell of human action and participation with each other that points up currents of feeling that are neither for sale nor for morticing into the shape of an institution.

It is important to do something that people (particularly in the art community) cannot immediately identify unless they question themselves and examine their own actions for an answer.

It is important to have fun.

It is important to learn.

Poster by Rebecca Howland

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ABC No Rio: The Culture of Opposition Since 1980