New Mural Depicts Gentrification of the Future

Will you be our next sustaining member?Donate

New Mural Depicts Gentrification of the Future

The comic-style art raises questions about the influence of the High Line.

High Line Park in New York City (Photo by David Berkowitz)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

Since New York City’s High Line began rolling out in 2009, adjacent neighborhoods have seen higher rents, higher quantities of tourists and all around higher stakes for the area surrounding the 1.45-mile-long elevated Manhattan park.

New York magazine had a look at a new city-commissioned mural titled “Above the Line,” by artist Kerry James Marshall, which will debut June 24th.

The piece, which will be hand-painted by the Brooklyn mural company Colossal Media (they make those faux-artisanal Vans and Jim Beam ads all over the place), depicts a semi-dystopian urban future in which even water towers have been transformed into glassed-in condos overlooking the city. In other words, everything looks like the very Chelsea residential towers that are rising up so quickly behind the High Line.

For better and for worse, New York’s High Line has inspired similar efforts in other cities in the U.S. and around the world, and in many ways changed the ways such projects are now considered.

Cecilia Alemani, the High Line’s curator and director of art, told New York that the comic-style piece works as a “criticism of what’s happening in the cities.” Its placement at the center of gentrification — right in passing view of High Line strollers — makes a very visible point.

(Credit: Friends of the High Line)

Marshall has a cartoon series starring black superheroes, and according to the magazine, the mural is equal parts satire and “makes a previously hidden demographic publicly visible in a visual language — comic drawing — that’s universally recognizable.”

The mural will stay up through May 31, 2016.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

Follow Marielle .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: new york cityarts and culturegentrificationhigh line

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 787 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous in Milwaukee, WI at $120/Year
  • Anonymous at $10/Month
  • Anonymous in Walnut Creek, CA at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    The 21 Best Solutions of 2021 special edition magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind