Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Super Hero Changing Station

Charlie beat us to the punch on this one...

VIA Urban Prankster

New York City has had a ton of phone booth art this fall. Lately it seems like you can’t go for a walk without seeing a great piece by an artist like Jordan Seiler. The above was done by Toronto’s Posterchild, who’s been hanging out in NYC quite a bit lately.

I love these unauthorized projects because they’re turning useless eyesores into art. There are certain city blocks in NY that have upwards of 10 public telephones. When is the last time anyone used a payphone? I understand their utility for those who can’t afford or happen to be without a cell phone, but really, do we need multiple phones on every corner? These structures are simply huts to cash in on advertising dollars, and they needlessly pollute the scenery of our streets.

Here’s a great NY Times article from 2007 that explains that pay phone advertising rakes in $62 million a year: As Billboards, Public Phones Always Work.

Also of note, you can see both Seiler and Posterchild, along with Jason Eppink and Specter, speak about their work on Friday, November 20 out in Astoria — details here.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

What Would Jesus Do?

I just spent from 4am to noon handing out copies of the NY post special edition and I am pooped. Before I rest, I had to post this image Charlie Todd of Urban Prankster sent me that he took in Vienna. A good Italian friend of mine had told me about the practice of recreating the image of churches that are under construction on the scaffolding that surrounds them. In this way, the church remains, while the unsightly construction goes on behind the scenes. It seems the church has forsaken this ritual for a more profitable one.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Longer Empty-Via Urban Prankster

VIA Urban Prankster

Thanks to the real estate bubble bursting and the ensuing recession, there are tons of vacant retail spaces all around Manhattan. What to do with all this prime space? One solution is to cover it with illegal advertising.

No Longer Empty has a much more elegant solution. The group is working with landlords to turn vacant storefronts into temporary art galleries that are free and open to the public. They currently have a gallery in the ground level of the new Caledonia luxury hotel on 16th Street and 10th Avenue by the High Line. I checked it out last week and it was awesome. What a novel idea! Using empty space for the public good!

My thoughts:

I love Urban Prankster for the sheer magnitude of amazing, often outlandish, public projects Charlie presents almost daily. Yesterday's post isn't all that typical for the site because it's not really about a prank. In fact if there were a prank here, it is what usually happens to empty storefronts in NYC, they get converted to giant illegal street level billboards.

That said, No Longer Empty's usage of vacant storefronts provides a wonderful counterpoint to InWindow's claim that using empty storefronts to promote private commercial messages is the best way to take care of the urban blight that has been caused by the recession. InWindow went so far as to say neighborhoods with too many empty storefronts would surely succumb to the broken window theory, if the storefronts weren't immediately covered with ads. If this is all about saving neighborhoods from the ravages of the recession and the loss of community that comes with urban blight, I think No Longer Empty's solution beats out InWindow's any day.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Chris' "Meet Me Here" Project

It's funny how much content I get from Charlie Todd's Urban Prankster. Considering the seriousness with which I approach this subject, "prankster" doesn't seem to be the most fitting word to describe the type of street actions I am excited about, and yet here I am grabbing yet another Urban Prankster post.

The best street art creates moments of interaction between two parties often destined never to meet. This project by "chris," an unknown artist, seeks to bring these two distant peoples together for a real interaction and I am itching to know the results. If anyone knows this person and can put me in touch with them, it would be greatly appreciated.

VIA Urban Prankster

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