We’re basically jumping out of our skin waiting for the start of the Festival of Ideas, so we were super excited to learn that public art for the event is already popping up! As part of the festival, the New Museum and the Art Production Fund commissioned 17 artists to transform business’s boring rolldown security gates into eye-catching murals. Our friends at Bowery Boogie have images of a few in-progress murals, and the Art Production Fund has shared images of completed gates. Jump ahead for a look at the colorful and creative art!
Titled “After Hours: Murals on the Bowery,” the public art exhibit will run until July 6. Yvonne Force Villareal, a co-founder of the Art Production Fund, told the New York Times that they spent hours trolling the Bowery at night to see which gates would be best for the murals, then they spent months talking to business owners, asking them to collaborate on the project. The exhibit combines the ideas of graffiti, traditional mural painting, and the graphic poster advertisements you see plastered around the city.
Some murals, like those by Lawrence Weiner and Deborah Kass, use bright, bold colors and catchy phrases like you’d seen in ads, while others, like the understated gate by Adam McEwen, don a simple phrase. In McEwen’s case, a lyric from a Doors song: “Been down so long looks like up to me.” The plain navy text on a white background is like clean, pre-approved graffiti. Mary Heilmann transformed the gate of 220 Bowery, a restaurant supply store, into an abstract painting, and Elmgreen Dragset cheekily painted “Open 24 Hours” on a gate just across the street.
We’re loving the variety of murals thus far, and we can’t wait for the total transformation!