Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani is the author of Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (University of Iowa, 2019). An urbanist, artist, curator, and teacher practicing new modes of public arts and urbanism for community engagement, she has 20 years of experience working to understand people’s relationship to city spaces, and a PhD in environmental psychology.
She uses participatory research, creative visual practice, community engagement, public humanities, creative placemaking, and the creation of innovative urban exhibitions to create spaces for dialogue. An experienced leader and public facilitator with cross-cultural and multimedia literacies, Bendiner-Viani often lectures internationally and consults with cultural organizations on the intersection of arts and community.
Bendiner-Viani is founder of Buscada, an interdisciplinary design, art & research studio as well as a professor of urban studies and public art at the New School in New York. She was previously Postdoctoral Fellow in Visual Culture at the International Center of Photography, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Urban Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Associate Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives at the New School. Her work has been shown at organizations including Cuchifritos / Artists Alliance, No Longer Empty, MIT, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Center for Architecture, the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, and Tate Britain. Her writing on cities, culture and photography has appeared in journals including Visual Studies, Urban Omnibus, Space and Culture, Society & Space, and Buildings & Landscapes. Bendiner-Viani lives in New York with her partner and 7-year-old son.
Revealing the untold stories of fifty years of community activism at the controversial Seward Park Urban Renewal Area on New York’s Lower East Side, Contested City sheds light on the importance of collaborative creative public projects in this complex place. A unique and humane book that bridges art, design, activism, and urban history.