Monday, November 1, 2010

Some Things Are Just Too Cool... Art Will Save Us

I ran across an article in this morning's NY Times that's just too cool.  It seems a group of street artists from around the world got together and, illegally, broke into an abandoned New York subway station and mounted a display.  It all happened in one night.  No one was invited but private guests.  It will probably never be seen by the general public and if you try to find it, you risk your neck to get there.

"We're not under the illusion that no one will ever see it,' Workhorse said. 'But what we are trying to do is to discourage it as much as possible."

He stressed that any self-styled explorer who found the site and attempted to enter it would be taking a real risk.

"If you go in there and break your neck, nobody's going to hear you scream," he said — at least assuming there are no track workers around. "You’re just going to have to hope that someone is going to find you before you die."

I can see it now.  Eons into the future, after the earth is destroyed by nuclear holocaust, modern day archeologists will find these drawings and marvel at the primitive civilization that created them.

Here's the slide show:  Slideshow   

Here's the video:  Video


  1. Ego is always the winner. They're in the NY Times, so much for not being seen.

  2. Crimini Punch. That was the plan, wasn't it? Keeps them safe from the cops and sets off a huge outside the law treasure hunt. A way cool idea.

  3. Artists are smarter than the rest of us, even if we pretend otherwise. The risk is what it's all about, yeah?

  4. Me, I don't get it. So much for my coolness.

  5. Gropius... ditto.

    Barbara... The idea is to first off have a totally underground (pun intended) event and then leak it so as to spark an out of bounds treasure hunt. Out of the mainstream art for out of the mainstream people.

  6. Well. The art is cool, the concept is interesting, and I guess it's sort of like when Philip Petit walked a wire between the WTC towers, except that was very public. Still, it leaves me kind of indifferent to this "project." Or maybe I just don't like what it says about society -- these artists are willing to risk life, limbs, liberty to make their statements, which ultimately don't benefit anyone or anything because of their non-public nature; meanwhile most of the rest of us are unwilling to risk our comfy situations to advocate for things of real value to society.

    And you know, you just know, that someone is gonna get in trouble, or worse, trying to find this place.

    I know that's not the point, but my brain went there, anyway. I'm such a mom...

  7. Intelli... one of the things that struck me about the whole thing was the concept of urban explorers. I don't know if you read the article, but it mentioned people who explore underground NY. Apparently these folks done their explorer gear and set off through the subways and sewers, etc. Sort of like urban spelunking.

    Anyhow, the artists are all urban artists, taggers if you will. Their art is usually very political and five will get you ten it will all soon surface on posters and t-shirts.

  8. Punch said it. Egoists of the elite NYC art scene. Do we really give a shit down here in the suburbs (anywhere west of the Hudson, that is)? I know the answer.

  9. No one can say that it's NOT interesting. :)

  10. You've been in the Plain Plains too long JJ. You're starting to sound like a rube envious of anything New Yorker.

    Yeah Heidi... you go girl.

  11. Tyree Guyton

    Initial public reaction to Guyton's offbeat street works generated considerable controversy in his home city of Detroit. Some neighborhood residents viewed them as eyesores, and the artist was ticketed for littering. In addition, after reported complaints by neighborhood residents reached the ears of Detroit's then-mayor, Coleman Young, four of the abandoned houses Guyton had decorated with objects were suddenly demolished by the city government in 1991. A second demolition occurred in 1999, during the mayoral administration of Dennis Archer."

    This is why they go underground. Guytons 90's experiences are what happens to urban artists who work in the open outside. Now though that it is so long standing it has become an accepted part of the cityscape

  12. Mr. C, I did read the article. I'm not romanticizing the urban explorers, though. It's only a matter of time before one of them gets injured, then sues the city, then the laweyers get involved and put massive security measures in place which prevent ordinary people from enjoying the subways and sewers.

  13. Well said WM. I guess from a perverse point of view, Guyton was a one-man urban renewal program.

    Well, Intelli... every form of refuge has its price. Sky divers, cave divers, bungee jumpers, rock climbers come to mind. Oh, and let's not forget skate boarders and midnight bike racers. Only difference is some are above ground and some are not... however, a good many of them are now underground, permanently.

    But I see your point. Where to draw the line??

  14. Speaking as an elitist New Yorker, it's actually better when folks in the flyovers don't understand. It's best when one of them raises a ruckus and generates even MORE cool publicity in the NYTimes.

    I love this piece, even though I have to agree with intelli's mom based objections. The people that roam around the subways - and try to ride on top of the cars and other stupid tricks - are there all the time anyway. I doubt many club kids are going to risk their $500 boots tracking down renegade art. Much better to get invited to the afterparty and get your body signed by one of the artists.

    I didn't know there were subway speelunkers, however. Makes you wonder how easy it would be for terrorists to blow up more shit downtown. Who needs a damn "mosque" if all you have to do is jump a turnstile?

  15. To me there is something cool about doing things "underground" it should remind all the art middlemen that they can easily be bypassed and all the snobbery that goes along with it can be flushed and not missed anymore than things you would ordinarily flush.

  16. Trish... for certain the ragheads will soon figure out that they can drive a van full of explosives into the underground parking garages of half of the tall buildings in the U.S. Chilling.

    Tex... I'm with you.

  17. The art work is awesome. I would like to explore the underground in New York. Always heard that there is a whole culture underground there. Interesting stuff.


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