V1 Gallery is pleased to present:

City Life 

A group exhibition curated by Marcus Leslie Singleton featuring works by Caroline Absher, Anthony Akinbola, Basie Allen, Cassandra Mayela Allen, Devin B Johnson, Dylan Rose Rheingold, Federico de Francesco, Hein Koh, Austin Lee, Eddie Martinez, Milo Matthieu, Ludovic Nkoth, Yashaddai Owens, Curtis Santiago, Marcus Leslie Singleton, Sissòn, James Ulmer and Nicole Wittenberg. 


The disfigured angel sculptures atop sky scrapers, the sacred geometry on the windows of the inner-city churches. The echoes of footsteps in the alleys, the thudding bass leaking out of a door with striking lights. The trail of red lights through the night streets, alerting people to slow down.

City Life explores how artists live, work, and interact with their respective cities. What places they frequent; cafes, restaurants, art supply stores, clubs, bookshops. How expensive they have gotten, and how artists make cities and their communities within them livable.

Our relationships to the cities we live in are always changing. This is because cities are always changing, and the change is happening now even more rapidly than in the past, which in turn make the artists respond to it within their work.

Historically, artists have always enriched their neighborhoods, particularly the working class communities that the artists could afford to live in or have studio in. Since humans have always valued beauty, the people that create beautiful things add value to the spaces they occupy. This results in people wanting to partake in these oases, and so the cycle continues; people follow the art, things end up costing more, and the rent goes up. Eventually the working class people and the artists are financially forced to leave their neighborhoods and find other places to live and work. This orbit, however cruel, is ultimately matched with the rise and fall of all societies throughout time.

Cities build artistic communities through sharing of ideas, which are attached to the local economy. This was even more evident prior to the internet, and now as new technologies arise, artists respond with what we think the world needs to see and hear, and this imagination is tied to how healthy our cities can be.

Marcus Leslie Singleton, New York City, 2024.