From Urban Omnibus:
Spanish-born, Rotterdam-based artist Lara Almarcegui’s Guide to the Wastelands of Flushing River — at Ludlow38 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side — carves an interdisciplinary niche at the intersection of photography, urban studies, and performance — a terrain every bit as ambiguous and enticing as the urban spaces documented in her work.
Guide to the Wastelands is the main attraction here, but taken in context with the other works on display...the selection reveals a broader interest in the physical stuff that composes the built environment, and the voids that remain when it is removed. Mostly, this interest is communicated through photographic documentation. But the inclusion of a portable brochure reveals a hint of the political in Almarcegui’s didactic intent, as if to say “take a guide, get out of your apartment and go see the site for yourself — before developers drop cheap condos on it.”
This gesture places places the work in a lineage of conceptual artists who engage audiences by prompting behavior; Almarcegui’s approach is simply re-tooled for the soft-power, facebook era. The more we know about the Flushing River (or the Gowanus Canal or Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill), the more likely we are to advocate for its sensitive reweaving into the urban fabric of New York. Compared to the work of other international artists, Almarcegui’s work is not glamorous. But by exposing the forgotten spaces in our midst, it’s just might be more important.