Image Source for Above Photo. All Other Photos By Gail.
Opening an art gallery inside a restaurant may not be an entirely original idea, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen more often. In fact, I think it’s a spot-on idea whose time as arrived! In a thrilling and logical partnership, TAO Group and Pop International Galleries have joined together to create a new art gallery in the vestibule of Vandal, one of the coolest contemporary pop art-themed restaurants and lounges in New York City.
It’s worth noting that Pop International Galleries’ home base is located just a few doors down the street from Vandal, and the Pop gallery inside Vandal features works by a select handful of popular street artists that the gallery represents. Along with original artworks by UR New York, Sean “Layercake” Sullivan, Flore, Dom Pattinson and RESO, a portfolio of ten very affordable, signed and numbered limited-edition prints by this group of artists are on exhibit and available for purchase.
Redesigning Vandal’s vestibule entry as an art gallery perfectly reflects the restaurant interior’s decorative theme, as its walls feature large scale, site-specific murals and framed artwork by Street Artists from around the world. To celebrate their joint venture, Vandal and Pop held a fun launch party and yours-truly scored an invite. Yes! This event marked my first visit to Vandal, although I have been in the space during its previous incarnation as The General, an Asian restaurant by Top Chef contestant Hung Huynh, and I was also there many times when it was home to Crash Mansion, a night club and live music venue. Somehow, Vandal manages to exceed either of its predecessors when it comes to serving up a good time. Let me show you around a bit.
Once inside the restaurant proper you will find this guy, Icy Grape; an 11-foot tall breakdancing bunny custom designed for the vaulted entry hallway by Rockwell Group. The Bunny’s Icy Grape color is a reference to the discontinued Krylon spray paint color of the same name, which I understand is still coveted by the street artist community. Guests are encouraged to pose with Icy Grape for the Instagram feed, but you may not touch or crawl on him.
I explored every room of Vandal and took photos of all of the cool fixtures and artwork. I love these pendant lights that hang above the main bar, which are made from cut crystal liquor decanters. Gorgeous!
This array of porthole lights are installed against graffiti-covered walls of the stairwell between the restaurant’s main and lower levels. The arist is Apexer.
Vandal has a massive main dining room, which makes it an ideal destination for hosting any gathering from an intimate date to a huge group Birthday celebration! There’s lots of cool stuff to look at as well, and it is like eating in an art museum.
Here is a detail of the mural seen above, which is by Los Angeles-based artist Tristan Eaton. His stuff is all over NYC. If you look closely you can see that the mural is painted against background of gold-painted shelved books.
This concrete relief wall sculpture and the one seen directly below bookend the dining space. They are by Portuguese graffiti/street artist Vhils (aka Alexandre Manuel Dias Farto). Very, very cool.
The evening’s festivities took place in the lounge adjacent to the main bar as well as a roomy front lounge area. Featured artworks by the Pop-up aritists were exhibited alongside permanent works in the space.
This lovely lady, and her friend below, are part of a triptych mural by Hush.
This might be a good time to mention that Vandal also features the delicious cuisine of Chef Chris Santos, select items of which were served at the event.
Wild Mushroom Pizza, yum.
Poke Bowl with fresh, sushi-grade salmon and tuna – excellent!
The front lounge features two wall murals by globally famous pop artist Shepard Fairy. His style is instantly recognizable.
Thanks to Vandal and Pop International Galleries for very fun evening!
Update 2020: Vandal has unfortunately close due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Vandal is located at 199 Bowery (at Spring Street), New York, NY 10002. For more information, please visit Tao Group.
Update: Vandal Has Closed Permanently