We love a good rabble-rouser. So when our pal Gregor Turk reached out to us about his upcoming exhibition, we wanted to share the news. As Atlanta continues to boast a skyline of cranes, Gregor is exploring how systematic development has maligned his neighborhood of Blandtown, through an exhibition of his sculptural installations, works on paper and photography.
When Gregor purchased the house that would become his studio in 2003, it was one of hundreds of homes in the area. Today, it's one of the last four original houses still standing. We remember when we first visited his studio to source artwork for a client. What today is the fashionable West Midtown neighborhood was then pretty obscure.
Originally developed as an African-American community, Blandtown was strategically forced into decline through rezoning to an industrial district in the mid-twentieth century.
Now - it doesn't take a PR expert to understand why the name Blandtown hasn't really taken off. Consider though that it was named for the freed slave Felix Bland. Still, it shares the unfortunate comparison to other suspect named cities around the nation, including Normal Town in Athens, GA. Dismal, NC, Peculiar, MO, Boring, OR and Pittsburgh, PA.
Through wit, lamentation and artistic probing, Gregor presents an exhibition that is part history lesson, part manifesto and part civic rousing. Interviews of former residents provide historical context. Dubious propaganda posters, manipulated images of local signage and unofficial merchandise rounds out the exhibit as this one-man chamber of commerce provides options to proclaim Blandtown’s existence.
Gregor has been rabble rousing over Blandtown for a while. In 2016, when residents started moving into a new development called West Town that now surrounds his studio in the center of Blandtown, he erected a billboard that made it abundantly clear the proper name of the neighborhood.
Come see for yourself.
The exhibition will open THIS Thursday and runs through November 22 at Gallery 72, a municipally owned art gallery located in the heart of downtown Atlanta at 72 Marietta Street. The gallery is free and open to the public to access.