Developers are using culture as a Trojan horse in their planning battles | Anna Minton

Housebuilders appropriate art to sell luxury homes at the expense of local artists and communities. But now there’s a fightback over ‘artwashing’

London sells itself on being the world’s cultural capital. Tate Modern had a record 6.4 million visitors following the opening of its new extension. Art fairs such as Frieze and the publicity surrounding big exhibitions such as the Jasper Johns show at the Royal Academy consolidate this brand identity.

But just a mile or two from the galleries and auction houses of the West End, some of the same cultural players whose creativity the city trades on are protesting that their own communities are being desecrated by development. Spectres of Modernism, a site-specific exhibition at Bowater House in the City of London until December, sees balconies draped with banners by artists including the Turner prizewinners Jeremy Deller and Elizabeth Price.

There is widespread opposition to the construction of apartments mainly bought as 'safe deposit boxes in the sky'

Related: What makes a creative city? | Juliana Engberg

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