Since moving to New York three years ago, I’ve come to appreciate the corner of Bowery and Houston, like many fellow street art lovers in this city.
The mural that exists at the spot where the streets intersect has been covered up for a few months – leading to fears it may be in jeopardy, with all the construction and development going on.
It turns out the space will still be there, as it has for the past 32 years (making the Bowery mural as old as this here writer), even as the area continues to develop. It wasn’t always a mural for street art, but once a real estate developer donated it to his artist friend in 2008, it became a place for big pieces to shine – and attract tags from other artists – in NYC.
Keith Haring first painted the mural, back in 1982, together with fellow artist Juan Dubose, according to Complex‘ History of the Bowery Mural. The spot is as central now as it was back then, in the middle of the burgeoning downtown arts scene, right on the path of artists walking back and forth between SoHo and the Lower East Side.
Since 2008, the space has seen the likes of Shepard Fairey, JR, Aiko Nakagawa and more. On Tuesday night, an Os Gemeos piece was unveiled, from 2009. The piece by the Brazillian twins Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo had been protected and stored and is now back up for a limited time. Quite fitting too, that it was done on the eve of it being a year since Banksy made NYC his playground with his Better Out Than In street art scavenger hunt. The brothers collaborated with him on a set of Village Voice covers, one of which it seems the producers of Homeland may have seen too…
Os Gemeos have gone on to develop their scope and style, as their incredible recent 360 degree piece in Vancouver shows, but their Bowery mural is a pleasure to behold for those of us who weren’t here back in 2009. And perhaps those who missed it the first time around. The whimsical piece is full of colour and detail – I particularly like the over-full N train. The vibrancy and life within the piece, much like that which the mural space itself represents, is most welcome back to the area.