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Kill City

Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000

Ash Thayer, Frank Morales (Introduction by), Dana Hoey (Contributions by)

Hardcover

List Price: 50.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

After being kicked out of her apartment in Brooklyn in 1992, and unable to afford rent anywhere near her school, young art student Ash Thayer found herself with few options. Luckily she was welcomed as a guest into See Skwat.

New York City in the ‘90s saw the streets of the Lower East Side overun with derelict buildings, junkies huddled in dark corners, and dealers packing guns. People in desperate need of housing, worn down from waiting for years in line on the low-income housing lists, had been moving in and fixing up city-abandoned buildings since the mid-80s in the LES.

Squatters took over entire buildings, but these structures were barely habitable. They were overrun with vermin, lacking plumbing, electricity, and even walls, floors, and a roof. Punks and outcasts joined the squatter movement and tackled an epic rebuilding project to create homes for themselves.

The squatters were forced to be secretive and exclusive as a result of their poor legal standing in the buildings. Few outsiders were welcome and fewer photographers or journalists. Thayer’s camera accompanied her everywhere as she lived at the squats and worked alongside other residents. Ash observed them training each other in these necessary crafts and finding much of their materials in the overflowing bounty that is New York City’s refuse and trash. The trust earned from her subjects was unique and her access intimate. Kill City  is a true untold story of New York’s legendary LES squatters.


Praise For Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000

“Anyone wondering about the end of bohemia can consult this book, which documents its last incarnation, at least in New York City. Few bohemians can ever have worked as hard as the squatters, who earned their homes and their lives; they were rewarded with forcible and violent eviction. Ash Thayer’s remarkable pictures chronicle a time, only two decades ago, that seems impossibly distant now.”
—Luc Sante, Author of Low Life

"Thayer's work here is a time capsule, a vision of a way things were, a city that once was. It reminds us that the DIY spirit is in the heart of this city. We must, against all pressures, show those who come after that there are other ways."
—Jesse Bransford, Chair, Department of Art and Art Professions at NYU 

"Captures a remarkable period in NYC’s recent history"
-The Guardian

"Thayer's own experience squatting in the Lower East Side is evident in every photo. Hers was a rarefied vantage, one where the lens of an outsider would never have been welcome. Kill City is a unique opportunity to experience New York City at a turning point, just before its last revolutionary vestiges faded away."
-The Daily Mail

"Unlike most journalists and photographers, who often time gave squatters 'bad press,' Ms. Thayer was able to document the movement and her friends through a lens of intimacy that has rarely been captured."
-New York Observer

"Thayer’s pictures document a poignant divide between then and now, depicting a New York that’s unimaginable today."
-Time Out New York

"The photographs, in both hazy color and black and white, are shot with celestial lighting in a direct, candid style"
-Fast Company

"every so often, images or stories come along that stop us in our tracks "
-Paper 

"fascinating"
-Flavorwire

As Seen In:
The New Yorker
i-D
MSNBC
BUST 
Hunger 
Playground 
American Photo (Best Photo Books of Spring 2015)
Animal New York

powerHouse Books, 9781576877340, 176pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2015



About the Author

ASH THAYER is a photographer and multimedia visual artist based in Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts, and a Masters of Fine Art from Columbia University in New York. Thayer has exhibited her work at venues including The Lawrence Miller Gallery and The Proposition Gallery in New York; the Berlin Art Fair; Kean College in New Jersey; The Museum of the City of New York; and The Chicago Art Institute. Her work is held in several public art collections including the Saatchi Gallery in London, The Chicago Art Institute, and The Museum of the City of New York. She has taught as an adjunct professor at New York University and Columbia University. She studied acting and directing at the Terry Schreiber Studio in New York, and has performed both on stage and in film.