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Mural on 2nd Street Gets a ‘Phlegmy’ Addition

-1Udom Surangsophon Here’s the mural, “Stampeded,” which was painted by Know Hope in March at Ideal Glass on East Second Street.

Click to see what the artist Phlegm added to the piece yesterday.

Nice Guy Eddie’s Loses One Kiss Mural, Gains Another

IMG_0171Stephen Rex Brown Chico at work today.

The original Kiss mural at Avenue A and East First Street has been wiped out, and Antonio “Chico” Garcia is busy creating a temporary replacement that depicts the band comin’ home to New York City.

The new design is on a woodshed outside of the former Nice Guy Eddie’s, which is getting a gut renovation by the new owner, Darin Rubell, who also owns Ella and Gallery Bar. When finished in the next day or two, the mural will show the band arriving on a train to the city. Read more…

Nice Guy Eddie’s Closes on Sunday


Nice Guy Eddie’s just announced on Facebook that after 16 years it will close on Sunday. News that the Avenue A sports bar owned by Community Board 3 member David McWater would shut down broke in April when it was revealed that the owner of Ella and Gallery Bar, Darin Rubell was taking over the space. Meanwhile, the staff of the bar popular among football fans tells customers, “We’re throwing a huge party Sunday, so stop by and wish us farewell!” Still no word on whether the Kiss mural by Chico will remain.

Shepard Fairey Mural Whitewashed

Shepard Fairey muralStephen Rex Brown Now you don’t: the Shepard Fairey mural is no more.

Well, that didn’t take long.

Yesterday, The Local noticed that the four-story Shepard Fairey mural on the side of the Standard East Village was coming down. Today, all evidence of the massive Buddhist monk was gone.

A spokeswoman for the hotel’s new owner, the famed hotelier Andre Balazs, said that there were no immediate plans to replace the mural.

The Day | Outdoor Art

they matchMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village

The sounds of the citywide free festival Make Music New York could be heard in the East Village yesterday. The Village Beat found a small outdoor concert in Astor Place, hosted by the local live performance venue, Joe’s Pub.

The performance artist Liu Bolin camouflaged himself into the Kenny Scharf mural yesterday near the intersection of Houston Street and Bowery. The Wooster Collective shared photos of the wall’s transformation.

But more outdoor art might be put on hold this week; The Weather Channel predicts several days of off and on thunderstorms, making the jump into summer a wet one.

The Day | Driving Up Rent

EAST VILLAGE third avenue2Gloria Chung

Good morning, East Village.

For some who attended last night’s meeting at Cooper Union, it may not be such a good morning. Protestors booed and jeered as the New York City Rent Guidelines Board took a preliminary vote to increase rent stabilized apartments between three to 5.75 percent for one year apartment leases, and up to nine percent for two year leases, with an additional one percent for oil-heated buildings, DNAinfo reports.

The board approved the increase with a 5-4 vote, citing the need to keep up with the growing operating costs for building owners. What’s next? Two more public hearings on June 16 and 20, before a final vote on June 27. Will you be in attendance? Let us know.

But hey, at least British royalty can still afford the neighborhood. On Saturday, the East Village tipped its hat to the famous newlyweds, with a fresh mural of Prince William and Kate Middleton holding court on the corner of East Houston and Avenue B. According to BoweryBoogie, Lower East Side artist Chico offered up his congratulatory message (only up for about three weeks) after being commissioned by Branson B. Champagne, a Harlem based liquor company.

And the rain, rain won’t go away–at least not for another day. Expect wet weather with a high of 55.

Mural Imperiled by Mars Bar’s Closure

Phillip Kalantzis Cope Mars Bar and views of Ori Carino’s mural.

In the ephemeral world of public art on the Lower East Side, the longevity and unbombed state of the mural decorating the brick wall outside Mars Bar stand as a mark of respect for its creator, Ori Carino.

Hank Penza, Mars Bar’s owner, first gave Ori permission to utilize the wall in 2002. Ori’s distinctive style was already familiar in the neighborhood from the numerous murals he had designed and executed, along with art work he was hired to place on the sides of trucks, and his spray-painted t-shirts that were sold in local boutiques. At first, Ori returned annually to execute a new composition on the Mars Bar wall. The current mural has been standing since 2007. Plans to erect a 12-story apartment building on the site may threaten its continued existence.

Walking quickly along East First Street, it is difficult to fully appreciate the intense drama and rich allegorical meaning being depicted in his mural, as animal and human figures grapple with the human condition. Rather, it is necessary to slow down, pause, step back, focus on the detail, mastery, and complexity of the struggle occurring on this urban canvas to fully appreciate it.
Read more…

Street Scenes | Appreciating Chico

chico_(3_of_1)Phoenix Eisenberg

Graffiti is an iconic form of artistic rebellion, whose epicenter has long been New York City.

With activities ranging from boxcar tagging to anarchistic promotion, the graffiti artist has a persona associated with intrigue and deviousness. But why the fascination with graffiti as a fine art in the last few years? Do popular graffiti artists today such as Banksy, Judith Supine, Shepard Fairey, and Dan Witz still portray rebellion?

Antonio Garcia, better known as “Chico,” started his career of spray-painting illegally, but soon found a new way to use his talents. Seeing the plain walls and brick that covered the Lower East Side, Chico saw a market. Today it is difficult to walk a block without seeing his commissioned work, whether it is a memorial or a small ad for a veterinarian business. Although Chico’s work is arguably just as skilled and creative as some of the greatest artists in the field, he has not drawn as much interest as Banksy or Shepard Fairey. Perhaps this is because, in jumping on the legal and marketable side of the art form, he risks losing the exact quality that draws so many to graffiti – the thrill of the illicit.

Artists Answer Foes of ‘Extreme’ Tags

houston bowery graffiti Kelly Knaub The wall at Bowery and Houston.

Two new curators hope that the large piece of “extreme tagging” on the cement wall at Bowery and Houston will quell concerns about over-sized street art from some members of the community.

Produced by San Francisco painter and graffiti artist Barry McGee, the wall is a collage of simple but striking tags, referring by name and writing style to various intergenerational graffiti artists.

Mr. McGee’s work is the fourth formally curated project at Bowery and Houston since May 2008, and the first for the space’s new curators: 29-year-old East Village residents Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman, both alumni of now defunct Deitch Projects.

“Barry McGee is the ultimate smoother over,” Ms. Grayson said, explaining her hope that Mr. McGee’s mural would “smooth over the Shepard Fairey mess,” referring to the previous, controversial mural. (For a comprehensive play-by-play of destruction to the Fairey mural, which lived from April to August, see here via Bowery Boogie and here via ArtsBeat.)
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