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Exhibtion on view: Hedonist Buddhist
Hedonist Buddhist transforms an exclusionary retail environment in Shaw into a solution-oriented community space that provides sanctuary for people feeling the consumptive pressures of gentrification, the loss of cultural connection, and the inevitability of displacement.
This show responds to the rise of gentrifiers who have imposed a new consumptive lifestyle upon several historically marginalized neighborhoods in DC. In Shaw, over the last thirty years, the process of gentrification has forced longtime residents out. As housing prices have soared 500% higher and average incomes have tripled, the neighborhood’s African-American population has plunged by nearly 40%. The process continues to hurt families, erase history, and transform DC block-by-block into an amnesiac wasteland of conspicuous consumption amidst drastic social inequality.
While Hedonist Buddhist is grounded in a particular DC neighborhood, gentrification must be understood as a global problem connected to a colonial understanding of power and its right to grant privileges to some through the exploitation of others. The artists in this show interrogate ideas related to their respective histories in relation to the imposition of this class-based racialized hierarchy. Alongside their artworks, the exhibition presents a collection of books elaborating these fraught histories. By examining our own disparate narratives, and pursuing a dialogue rooted in a global collective struggle, like-minded allies will find opportunities to cultivate new methods of resistance.
About the Curator:
Joseph Orzal is a Filipino-Mexican-American artist, curator, and serial collaborator from Washington DC. He received his BFA from the Corcoran College of the Art in 2010 and has been actively exhibiting since then. His works combine physical and emotional observations of the human state and mine the palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies. After his glorious departure from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, amidst his involvement with the Save the Corcoran group, he co-founded NoMüNoMü—an intersectional artist collective and curatorial platform in Washington DC working towards liberation from the perpetual systems of oppression and class domination that permeate throughout the artworld.