Mao-Maoing the Art-Peddlers in Boyle Heights
August 13, 2018, 01:50 PM
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As I’ve mentioned before, Boyle Heights is a Los Angeles neighborhood conveniently located just east of booming downtown LA. It’s not extremely crime-ridden, just a dumpy Mexican neighborhood. The usual gentrification process is for artists and then art galleries to take the lead. But in Boyle Heights, anti-white intimidation has reversed that process.

Art galleries are leaving Boyle Heights, but more anti-gentrification battles loom on the horizon

Carolina A. Miranda
AUG 08, 2018 | 3:00 AM

Art galleries are leaving Boyle Heights, but more anti-gentrification battles loom on the horizon
A man walks past a mural on Anderson Street in Boyle Heights that reads “RESIST.” (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

On a warm evening in early May, gallerist Robert Zin Stark turned up for a meeting with anti-gentrification activists from the Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement (B.H.A.A.A.D.) at a tidy, century-old bungalow just west of the 101 Freeway — the offices of the neighborhood advocacy group Unión de Vecinos.

Waiting for him when he arrived was a scene worthy of insurgent agitprop: A handful of casually clad activists seated at a long table were backed by a dozen individuals in black jumpsuits and red ski masks standing shoulder to shoulder.

Is it legal under California law for a mass of masked people to assemble for the purposes of driving out a businessperson of a different race?

“There was a table with four women from the community,” recalls Stark. “And there was one folding chair on the other side for me.”

On the agenda, says Stark, the founder and director of the MaRS gallery (short for Museum as Retail Space), was a discussion about “the realities of economic violence” and the need for “people involved in the gallery system to consider where their own power comes from.”

The whole experience, he recalls, “was a little bit like ‘Clockwork Orange’ meets ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’”

The ultimate purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future of his gallery — or, to be more exact, its nonfuture. …

Whatever the stated reason for the departures, the declining number of art spaces in Boyle Heights — from more than a dozen to half that — has been greeted with satisfaction by activists.

Implied threats of violence can work in 2018 if the System thinks the masked men deserve to be the Who and the business people the Whom due to their respective races.

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