Statement by the Organizers of the Real Estate Show
January 5(?), 1980

On December 30, 1979, several artists entered the 1916 built factory showroom at 123 Delancey Street. They glass-waxed the windows and began clearing trash from the room. A plumbing line in the basement had burst during the frost of the previous week; this was repaired. The heater was turned on and a radio plugged in. Throughout the day and into the night, artists arrived with their work for the Real Estate Show. During the videotaping of this first day, a group of children entered the show, began to set-up along with the artists. Tney drew on the walls and started acting in one corner of the room, using a flashlight and shower curtain. At 9 in the evening, the last artists in the building locked up and went home.

On December 31, 1979 the Real Estate Show, with the windows still glass-waxed, was previewed to the art community at a word-of-mouth reception. This event also was videotaped; the children again performed in their corner; and visitors from the community joined the party. Shortly before midnight, the last artists in the building locked up and toasted the New Year on the streets.

On January 1, 1980, the Real Estate show was opened to the general public shortly after noon. The children had their act down by now, and they performed again in the presence of family friends and visitors. More artists appeared with their work, including a group from Suffolk Street whom the City is evicting.The show was locked up in the late evening.

On January 2, 1980, we found the show padlocked from the inside. A press conference was called for 4 pm. Phone calls revealed that the Housing Preservation and Development Agency had closed the show. Denny Kelly, assistant to the Asst. Comsnr of Relocation Operations, Manny Mirabal, called for a meeting at HPD offices at 6:30 pm. We said we would send a group and informed them of the press conference. At 4 pm, Fred McDarrah of the VOICE pointed out a carload of City officials parked on the street. They spoke to the press at length, denied they had keys to the building, said they had keys but would not unlock the show, and glared. A group of 15 artists in the show went to HPD offices that evening to meet with Mirabal, Kelly, a fellow named Cochlin, and Deputy Commissioner William Emmick. The HPD group was angered by our actions but professed sympathy for our aims. They adamently refused to reopen the show at 123 Delancey Street, claiming that they would risk a lawsuit from H.U.D. (a fact which Yvonne Lee of that agency denies), outrage "title vested tenants" with prior claims on the space (also not so--one of these, Gershon Mamlak, endorses our show), and mainly because they were just pissed off. They told us to find another space to put up the show.

The next day, January 3, a group of us spend cruising the devastated shells of buildings under HPD management on the Lower East Side, looking for a place to move the show, and also a possible permanent location for an organization unaffiliated with the Real Estate Show, but many of whose members had evidenced strong support, Collaborative Projects Inc. (NEA funded). We found nothing suitable and became discouraged. Returning to our phones we found a swell of sentiment from exhibiting artists that the Real Estate Show be reopened at 123 Delancey Street.

January 4th a general meeting of exhibitors approved organizing group tactics for reopening the show. It is our intention that the show remain open every day of the week on an afternoon and evening schedule for the period Jan. 8 to Jan. 22. We have submitted items of agreement to the City to effect this result.

1) That the Real Estate Show be allowed to reopen at 123 Delancey Street for the period commencing January 8 and ending January 22, 1980.

Understanding that the premises of 123 Delancey Street will be entirely vacated by sundown of January 22, 1980.

2) That the gas and electric utilities in the building at 123 Delancey Street be turned on for the period Jan. 8-22.

Understanding that the Committee for the Real Estate Show will reimburse the City for the expense of utilities during the period Jan. 8-22. (An estimated sum can be put aside in escrow if the City is desirous.)

3) That the City coordinate a program between its agencies (HPD, Dept of Gen. Serv., and Dept of Real Estate) whereby artists can become managing agents and temporary on-site tenants of buildings scheduled for demolition and vacant or under-used City facilities.

Understanding that these buildings would be cases in which no short term commercial usage is feasible and that the artist tenants use the buildings solely for the preparation and display of exhibitions.

The Real Estate Show is a collective exposition open to all artists and exhibitors. The Committee for the Real Estate Show is an organizing group that finally determines its actions at general meetings of the exhibitors.

This is a new kind of art show. It is interactive and collective. During the 3 day course of the exhibition (set-up Jan. 30; reception Jan. 31; and public opening abertura publico Jan. 1 1980) we foundt he spacing of single artworks at 123 Delancey dissolved. Art works were placed together, their individuality merged, and new expressions arose. Artists in show began to prepare work specifically for the building.

First Children, then adults from the neighborhood came into the Real Estate Show. The children drew on the walls, and organized a theatrical group using a shower curtain and a flashlight. Adult visitors to the show sang and danced, and expressed interest in volunteering to work with the children at 123 Delancey Street.

All of this spontaneous and planned activity has been crushed by the City padlocking of the Real Estate Show.

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ABC No Rio: The Culture of Opposition Since 1980