Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center



Group Tour
Damon Rich and Larissa Harris

Thursday, September 24, 2009
3:30 p.m.
Queens Museum of Art

Artist/Designer Damon Rich and Queens Museum curator Larissa Harris will lead a tour of Rich’s installation, Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center, which graphically and experientially explores the financial history of mortgages and housing.

With the world in the throes of a recession and foreclosures redefining streetscapes in neighborhoods throughout the country, the Queens Museum of Art presents Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center, a large‐scale installation of models, drawings, photographs, and videos by artist/designer Damon Rich, melding playful Sesame Street style with do‐it‐yourself investigations into the intricacies of real estate finance. For Red Lines, Rich presents the history and material culture behind the current economic crisis in the form of an experimental site for learning. The exhibition allows visitors to explore the spikes and troughs of interest rates in the form of a plywood graph 40 feet long and 14 feet tall; enter a looming bust of Frederick Babcock, pioneer of real estate appraisal; and walk through a photographic landscape of houses in Detroit and its suburbs. Photographs and video interviews with players in the field—from community activists to investment bankers—transform abstract financial markets into networks of, if not humane, then human positions.

The exhibition focuses on places like 1970s Chicago and contemporary Detroit and Newark where private lending practices,DamonRich_BlockBuster government legislation, and race combine in an explosive mix, before turning its gaze to New York. To address the epidemic of foreclosures in New York, Rich uses the Museum’s Panorama to map the homes filed for foreclosure during 2008, drawing attention to entire neighborhoods devastated throughout the city. For each city block with more than three foreclosures in 2008, Rich has placed a fluorescent pink triangle on the model. What results is a view of the city with a wide swath of foreclosures cutting through the predominantly African‐American and Latino neighborhoods of Queens and Brooklyn.

Damon Rich is an artist and designer, and is the founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). His exhibitions use video, sculpture, graphics, and photography to investigate the political economy of the built environment. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Storefront for Art and Architecture and Sculpture Center, Canadian Center for Architecture, the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture, and Netherlands Architecture Institute. In 1997, he founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public participation in urban planning and community design, where he served as Creative Director for 10 years. In 2007, Damon was selected as a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and an Artist‐in‐Residence at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, where he developed Red Lines. Rich currently lives and works in Newark, New Jersey.

Reservations are required. Tickets are free for League members; $10 for non-members. Reservations will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please email Further program information will be given upon confirmation.

This program was made possible in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Images, top to bottom: 2008 foreclosure filings mapped onto the Panorama of the City of New York, Photo by James Harris; Block Buster by Damon Rich, 2008.

red_lines_Graph from ground