This article was originally published on Common Edge.
While Stephen Zacks’ new book, G.H. Hovagimyan: Situationist Funhouse, is ostensibly about the life and work of the artist, there’s an intriguing and seemingly topical subtext looming in the background: the role of art and culture on the development and redevelopment of cities. It’s a complicated and sometimes fraught issue, prone sometimes to simplistic, even binary thinking. Zacks, a friend and former colleague at Metropolis, has always had a more nuanced view of the issue. Last week I reached out to him to talk about the work of Hovagimyan, the historic lessons of 1970s New York, and why “gentrification” needs a new name.