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Jan 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm – Jan 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Los Sures at MoMA PS1

Part of the GREATER NEW YORK exhibition.

UnionDocs is pleased to participate with

MoMA PS1’s Greater New York exhibition.

With screenings of Diego Echeverria’s 1984 film Los Sures and accompanying shorts from the Living Los Sures project

January 17 – 23



Diego Echeverria, USA, 1984, 16mm, 66m

Diego Echeverria’s Los Sures skillfully represents the challenges of its time: drugs, gang violence, crime, abandoned real estate, racial tension, single-parent homes, and inadequate local resources in Brooklyn’s Los Sures neighborhood. Yet Echeverria’s portrait also celebrates the vitality of this largely Puerto Rican and Dominican community, showing the strength of their culture, their creativity, and their determination to overcome a desperate situation. Nearly lost, this 16mm film has been restored, reframed, and remixed by Southside-based UnionDocs. The restored version premiered at the 2014 New York Film Festival.


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In the late 70s and early 80s, the Southside of Williamsburg was one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. In fact, it had been called the worst ghetto in America. The 1984 film Los Sures by Diego Echeverria skillfully represents the challenges of this time; drugs, gang violence, crime, abandoned real estate, racial tension, single parent homes, and inadequate local resources. Yet, Echeverria’s portrait also celebrates the vitality of this largely Puerto Rican and Dominican community, showing the strength of their culture, their creativity and their determination to overcome a desperate situation.

Nearly lost, this 16mm film has been restored for theatrical exhibition just in time for its 30th anniversary and become the point of departure for an expansive documentary project, called Living Los Sures. This multi-platform work reframes the neighborhood today through an impressive collection of new short documentaries, updates the film’s narrative through an interactive feature called 89 Steps, and remixes Echeverria’s film Shot by Shot with memories and stories gathered through the participation of longterm local residents. The resulting portrait brings together the remarkable past and present of a very unique place, and offers a rich and collaborative study of an urban community striving for sustainability against displacement and forces of gentrification.

Shorts to be screened:

Jan 17: ÁLVARO by Daniel Wilson, Liz Warren, Alexandra Lazarowich and Chloe Zimmerman.

Jan 18: BEFORE/AFTER by Michael Kugler and Daniel Terna.

Jan 21: THIRD SHIFT by Anthony Simon.

Jan 22: OF MEMORY & LOS SURES by Michael Kugler and Laurie Sumiye.

Jan 23: TOÑITAS, Beyza Boyacioglu and Sebastian Diaz.


Living Los Sures was initiated and directed by UnionDocs Founder, Christopher Allen. It is a production of UnionDocs (UnDo), a nonprofit Center for Documentary Art that was born in the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has operated there for nearly a decade. Through four year-long iterations of the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio, over 40 artists fellows have worked together on research and short documentary productions for Living Los Sures.Though the film was nearly lost, it has been lovingly restored for theatrical exhibition just in time for its 30th anniversary with the support of The Reserve Film and Video Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center.


MoMA PS1 presents the fourth iteration of its landmark exhibition series, begun as a collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in 2000. Recurring every five years, the exhibition has traditionally showcased the work of emerging artists living and working in the New York metropolitan area. Greater New York arrives in a city and art community that has changed significantly since the first version of the survey. With the rise of a robust commercial art market and the proliferation of art fairs, opportunities for younger artists in the city have grown alongside a burgeoning interest in artists who may have been overlooked in the art histories of their time. Concurrently, the city itself is being reshaped by a voracious real estate market that poses particular challenges to local artists. The speed of this change in recent years has stoked a nostalgia for earlier periods in New York—notably the 1970s and 1980s, and the experimental practices and attitudes that flourished in the city during those decades. Against this backdrop, Greater New York departs from the show’s traditional focus on youth, instead examining points of connection and tension between our desire for the new and nostalgia for that which it displaces.

Bringing together emerging and more established artists, the exhibition occupies MoMA PS1’s entire building with over 400 works by 157 artists, including programs of film and performance. Greater New York is co-organized by a team led by Peter Eleey, Curator and Associate Director of Exhibitions and Programs, MoMA PS1; and including art historian Douglas Crimp, University of Rochester; Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA; and Mia Locks, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.

Considering the “greater” aspect of its title in terms of both geography and time, Greater New York begins roughly with the moment when MoMA PS1 was founded in 1976 as an alternative venue that took advantage of disused real estate, reaching back to artists who engaged the margins of the city. Together, the works in the exhibition employ a heterogeneous range of aesthetic strategies, often emphatically representing the city’s inhabitants through forms of bold figuration, and foregrounding New York itself as a location of conflict and possibility.


Jan 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Jan 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

Collaborative Studio

Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, CoLAB offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project.

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