The Covid Life walks have lead me to all sorts of unexpected, magical discoveries! That might have something to do with the fact that I am now regularly exploring streets that, three months ago, I did not know existed. Case in point: Columbia Street. “Where The Fuck is That” you ask? It’s on the LES near Delancey, and walking north it eventually turns into Avenue D. But it was on Columbia Street, that I saw this box truck idling in front of a grocery store, bearing Buff Monster’s awesome pink tag, along with his signature Mr. Melty character. Sweet.
Living the Covid Life in its Manhattan epicenter is hardcore. New Yorkers are survivors though, and we still love our city. Queen Andrea wants to make sure we don’t forget how hard NYC rocks. She completed this beautiful mural on Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Streets on May 14th, 2020, which is why it still looks fresh!
Covid Life, it is now a thing. I’ve been working from home for two weeks already and I’ve fallen into a daily routine of taking a walk after lunch in the most isolated areas I can find, just to get exercise and prevent (delay) the onset of Cabin Fever. It cheered me immensely to discover this colorful mural by Kenny Sharf, populated with his trademark whimsical faces. Since I’ve been exploring new turf more than usual, I see his stuff all over doorways and gates. Who knows how long this has been here?
Spotted on Norfolk Street Between Rivington and Stanton on the LES.
Graffiti artist Kunle F. Martin AKA Earsnot, founder of the IRAK Crew, created this abstract rainbow mural in June of 2019 in celebration of NYC Pride Month. You can find near the corner of Suffolk and Delancey Streets in Manhattan. The mural was sponsored by the Lisa Project in partnership with The World Mural Project, which will be happening again this come June!
Do you like Street Art? I Sure do. Whether you’re already an avid fan of street art, or are just curious about, and open to, getting schooled on the evolution of this rather phenomenal genre of pop culture, you have through the final weekend in September to immerse yourself in an ambitious, but temporary, street art museum called Beyond the Streets.
Beyond The Streets is a celebration of society’s most pervasive mark makers and rule breakers with unprecedented purpose and scale; inside these walls you will find a collection of stories and works by artists past and present who have helped to propel graffiti and street art to extraordinary heights. Works from more than 150 of the world’s leading graffiti and street artists from past and present are represented, alongside cutting-edge contemporary artists and pop culture icons. The exhibit spans two full floors on the footprint of an entire city block, in a newly-constructed high rise office building on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (the views alone are worth the price of admission).
Beyond The Streets explores the collective urgency of using the street as a canvas for expression, and while the subject matter varies and the mediums are many, it is in the public sphere where these messages find a home.
The story starts more than 50 years ago, in the mid to late 1960s, when the contemporary concept of graffiti took shape in the streets of New York and Philadelphia. Disenfranchised youth, inspired equally from boredom and ego, started scrawling their names and monikers everywhere, spawning copycats and competition.
These early acts of letter-based marks, created in both marker and spray paint, became monumental when repeated on a global scale.
People have long taken to the streets to share a name, phrase, image or cause with the world around them to force a public discourse. Streets act as the symbolically important public stage that is both local and universal, the bedrock for both public protest and anonymous action.
The streets also act as a tool for civic engagement and activism, and Beyond The Streets includes figures who have used their art to unite the oppressed around a common cause. As it is so often said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and simple gestures in public spaces can quickly galvanize a movement, raising awareness of an issue and resulting in change.
For some, the streets were a starting point to evolve their message and style. Pushing their craft in figurative, illustrative, realist or abstract directions, they turned their energy and experience toward more traditional settings. For others, graffiti was never an origin, but an inspiration. Elements of graffiti and street art can be found across music, fashion and contemporary art, all helping this culture to proliferate further.
Beastie Boys Logo By Cey Adams
The Beasties Boys have multiple galleries dedicated to their music, memorabilia and hip hop legacy. If you’re a fan, you won’t want to miss it!
Beyond The Streets affirms a truth that cannot be overstated: Graffiti and Street Art would not have become what they have without New York City! Let’s take a look at a selection of the thousands of pieces of art — including sculptures, paintings, posters, flyers, installations, photography, and other ephemera that you’ll see in this fantastic exhibit!
Friendly docent Lynzy gently reminds a pair of enthusiastic young ones that there is no touching of the art!
Check out this crazy thing: the Magic Touch Porch Tattoo Parlor installation by Bert Krak and Alexis Ross. So cool!
Art Above and Below By André Saraiva.
The politically-themed art of Shepard Fairey gets a huge amount of space in the exhibit (see below). All his stuff is great.
Beyond the Streets is all kinds of crazy fun, and there is so much more on display than what I’ve had room for here. We spent close to three hours exploring the exhibit, just taking our time and looking at everything, but you could easily make a full afternoon of it if you really wanted to read all the stories and take a ton of selfies (there are many excellent selfie opportunities that I didn’t cover here, but trust me that the exhibit is infinitely Instagram-able). I’d suggest allowing a minimum of two and one-half hours inside the exhibit. Plan your visit now!
Beyond the Streets Runs Through September 29th, 2019 and is Located at 25 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY (Take the L Train to the Bedford Stop and Walk about 10 Minutes). Tickets are $25 for Adults and Kids Over 12, $11 for Kids Aged 6 to 11, and Free for Kids Aged 5 and Under. Visit This Link For More Information Such as Hours, Discounts, and to Purchase Tickets!
Art Above and Below By Faile (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller)
Even though it’s been up since June 4th, it was just last week that I finally had the chance to check out the latest amazingly colorful mural on display at the famous Houston Bowery Wall, which is entitled Believe, and is the work of Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea. Queen Andrea is a New York City-based artist who specializes in fine art, murals, typography, and graphic design. Believe serves as a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity and “vibrancy of urban life.”
For Believe, in which Queen Andrea used paints in super bright colors, the eponymous typography messaging is a focal point, along with the words Love More on the lower right corner at street level. The artist uses these encouraging messages about staying positive and believing in what inspires you the most and makes you love more!
Queen Andrea’s focus on typography as an artist is an evolution of her history as a female graffiti artist. She grew up near the Houston Bowery Wall in Soho, where she began painting graffiti and studying graphic design as a young teen. The mural is part of an ongoing partnership between Goldman Global Arts and Citi.
The Houston Bowery Mural Wall is located at the intersections of East Houston Street and Bowery on the Northwest Corner.
Well, if you haven’t had a chance too see the above iteration of the Houston Bowery Mural Wall, it’s officially too late, because the colorful piece, by Bronx-based graffiti consortium, Tats Cru, was painted over during the Memorial Day Weekend. And that’s why I’m here: to tell and show you what you missed. You’re welcome.
The Mural Kings went up in late January of 2019 as an homage to NYC and the Lower East Side, including a shout out to the late Keith Haring (who, back in 1982, was the first artist to create a site-specific mural for the now legendary street canvas). Tats Cru is the first full graffiti crew to paint a mural here.
The mural also honors green activist and advocate Liz Christy (1950 – 1985), who created NYC’s first community garden, which still thrives just across the street from the mural.
Tats Cru has spearheaded the battle to change the public’s perspective of graffiti as an art form through their respected work.Their murals adorn the walls of major corporations, museums, schools and iconic New York City Institutions
Photographer Stephen Shore, known for his images of banal scenes and objects, has observed that “Paying attention all the time is an interesting way to go through the day,” and I could not possibly agree more. I am always on the look-out for cool and unusual Pink Things for the blog, and I surely could have walked right by this fabulously pink banal object if I wasn’t paying close attention! Ladies and gentlemen, I present this week’s pink thing: the Pink Graffiti Mail Box!
A closer inspection of all four sides of the box will reveal that it is no ordinary mail box, but rather one of those formerly-dark-green mail storage boxes, officially known as a Postal Relay Box. I looked it up.
Aside from having been originally vandalized by being painted pink, the box is quite clearly covered with stickers, wheat pastes, stencils and graffiti from a collection of local street artists, who have marked their territory as a dog marks a hydrant. I see Phoebe New York! Also located close by: Graffiti Dumpster!
I especially like the little Slug, seen above.
Photographed at the Corner of Chrystie and Rivington Streets on the Lower East Side, NYC.
Update 1/28/20: I just found out that this Pink Mail Box is part of the Love Letters Project. Sadly, this box has been moved by the Post Office, but oou can see more works like this under the hastag #poetwastaken on Instagram!
Graffiti artist and Muralist Jules Muck (aka @MuckRock) has added this fun likeness of guitar god Jimi Hendrix, alongside a border of multiple images of rabbits humping, to the façade of vintage clothing and record store Rags-A-GoGo. It looks like a fun place to shop! You can see more of Jules work at This Link!
Rags-A-GoGo is located at 218 West 14th Street, NYC.
Street Artist Chris RWK (@RobotsWillKill) painted this version of his signature Robot character on the Eldridge Street side of The Ridge Hotel. The bright red heart he’s holding has a gift tag attached that says “From New York.” Sweet. This mural is part of what is officially called The Ridge Wall; a series individual mural vignettes by a variety of popular street artists that wraps the building’s facade from Houston Steet around the corner to Eldridge. Sponsored by the hotel and 212 Arts Gallery, which represents the participating artists, the Robot with a Heart went up in October of 2018.