Highest and Best Use wryly examines the ongoing effects of the 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn. A rash of lucrative residential developments have pushed out long-time residents and businesses and overtaxed area resources at an alarming pace, while the need for new commercial space continues to be underserved. The opening of the area’s air rights has set off a height race among developers, with each successive new building breaking the height record of the one built immediately before it.
The digitally manipulated photographs in this series extend the facades of each newly built residential tower that breaks the current height record for the borough. The title of the piece, a real estate valuation term describing the optimal use of a property which produces the highest possible profit, was invoked by Tucker Reed (President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership) in a statement to the press while the group was promoting its assessment of the rezoning in 2014. The elongated facades, coupled with poetically oblique industry terminology, produce a counter-narrative to the rezoning’s ostensible success.
This is an ongoing series; a new image will be generated for
each building that breaks the current height record for the borough. Pieces in the Foundation Center collection include
111 Lawrence St., 388 Bridge St., and 100 Willoughby St.
Lawrence Mesich was born in Nashville and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His fascination with and exploration of the spaces created by Chattanooga’s rapid development and abandoned industrial infrastructure formed a life-long interest in the dialogue between bodies, behavior, and architecture, which continues to inform his work.
He received his BFA with a concentration in video and performance from State University of New York Purchase in 1999, and received his MFA in digital media and performance from Stony Brook University in 2005. Lawrence currently lives in Brooklyn and works in Queens.
Lawrence’s work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions in the New York area including Space 776, Waves, Queens Museum of Art, Momenta Art, Bushwick Open Studios, Invisible Dog, Gallatin Galleries at New York University, Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York, Storefront Ten Eyck, Loft 594, AC Institute, Aicon Gallery, The Loom Gallery, The Shirey, RAC Gallery, and Jefferson Gallery. His work has been part of international exhibits at the Ares International Film and Media Festival in Siracusa, Italy; Screengrab Media Arts Award Exhibit in Townsville, Australia; Videomedeja Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia; CologneOFF Festival in various locations; Festival Miden in Kalamata, Greece; and FONLAD Festival in Coimbra, Portugal.