Sean Vegezzi (b. New York City, 1990) is an artist who has examined New York City’s topography through image-making, sculpture, writing, and performance art since the September 11th attacks of 2001.
Vegezzi’s projects tend to take place in spaces of a transitory nature such as municipal infrastructure, construction sites, vacant commercial real estate properties, and under-utilized waterways. His first book of photographs, IDWGU, was published by Fourteen Nineteen in 2012. The images in this early collection delicately articulate how urban redevelopment and counter-terrorism practices have impacted the experience of adolescence. In later works Scott (2015), Joey (2015), and Snow Cab (2016), Vegezzi expanded his practice to include architectural, spatial, and performative interventions on the fabric of the city.
His most recent project (DMYCC, 2017) took place over the course of 11 years, in which Vegezzi and a collective of friends secretly occupied a disused underground space in Lower Manhattan to build and enact a private recreational space and social forum. Over time, the underground area both facilitated the creation of a community and provided a space for its development. After using it as a quiet refuge from the city and a place to party and socialize, the group carried out renovations that underscored how the city had previously failed the space. In eliding the distinctions between sanctioned renovations and informal ones, DMYCC explores the concept of spatial citizenship and its techniques of visibility-making. It is a document that has sent out ripple effects as an instructive piece of open source repossession, where civic character is activated by the adolescent psyche, exploring the developmental potential of play and experimentation within a forbidden, self-governed piece of failed architecture.
Vegezzi's practice continues to examine the effect that both public and private spaces have on the individual, blending personal experience with narratives of autonomy, privacy, and security. Vegezzi’s work dreams of alternative models of living in cities, where undefined areas give a semblance of solitude, the limitations of the city-as-bureaucracy are exposed, the all-encompassing damage caused by over-development is reversed, and the mission-creep of security apparatuses into everyday life is undermined, reconfigured, or even inverted by its subjects.