Live From SXSW's Screening Room
156 RIVINGTOND: Andrea Meller.
Documentary Feature First Films, U.S. Premiere
In the 1980s, 156 Rivington was an abandoned building in New York's depressed Lower East Side (known as Alphabet City or Loisaida to black and Puerto Rican residents). Angered at the way the city was embracing gentrification, several renegade artists seized the space and set up an installation called "The Real Estate Show." Though the city closed it down after a day, the action drew citywide attention. Soon, an alternative art and political organizing collective, called ABC No Rio after a dilapidated neighborhood sign that once read "Abogado Notario," was born. Interestingly, as ABC artists flipped a defiant finger to the system that turned its back on "the people," they were slow to critique their own role as community imperialists. To Meller's great credit, she augments the celebratory history laid out by ABC No Rio artists and organizers with a voices from neighborhood residents who offer another take on the story, making 156 Rivington an unflinching, sometimes provocative study of the politics of space, community, and art. (Alamo, 3/14, 1:15pm)