“Lil Crazy Legs” on 110 E 7th Street, Manhattan.
On a sunny day last fall, a man strolled down Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. As he approached Harman Street, he noticed some children scaling a black, chain-link fence. “Someone should stop those kids climbing those fences before one gets hurt,” he told a fellow passerby. The passerby nodded in agreement, but inside he smiled. The kids climbing the fence weren’t real – they were wood and paint, and the passerby was Ernest Zacharevic, the artist who made them.
If you walk down Eighth Avenue near the intersection of 14th Street, you will see two unassuming signs hammered to wooden posts on the sidewalk. The signs read, “Please Be Advised THIS IS A POST. Use Caution. Thank You.” Placed in front of a vacant, graffiti-ridden lot, it’s easy to pass by and assume the warning signs are legitimate. But we know that in New York City, things may not be what they seem.
The culprit behind the work is Paul Richard, his name typed in bold on the signs. Despite the signature, Richard has remained under-the-radar, at least as a street artist. His witty and sarcastic pieces feature museum labels or warning signs on common objects like telephone poles, walls and light posts. Unlike other street artists, who choose to retain their anonymity, there is a face and identity attached to his works.
Yesterday, we came across artist Kenny Scharf working on a new mural in the Bronx just south of the Cross Bronx Expressway on Third Avenue. Scharf was in the zone but allowed us to take photographs of him working. The mural, is a commission from Krinos Foods, a New York City-based importer of Greek foods. On an opposite wall, artist Victor Matthews is working on another mural, the largest he has ever made at 400 feet long and 10 feet high. Both works are coordinated by the Los Angeles gallery, KM Fine Arts.
French photographer and filmmaker Gregoire Alessandrini, whose photographs of gritty New York City in the 1990s we have showcased on numerous occasions, has recently uploaded a 30 minute documentary on the ’80s artist and stylist Stephen Sprouse, a film he produced and co-wrote in 2009. Children of the ’90s may be most familiar with Sprouse’s work as the inspiration behind the neon collection that Marc Jacobs did for Louis Vuitton in 2001 which took, among others, the iconic monogram bag and plastered it with graffiti-style lettering.
On Rogers Avenue, between Sterling Place and Park Place in Crown Heights, is one of the most unique pieces of street art we’ve seen recently. It’s a sculpture, often tucked behind refuse and recycle – a cast of a homeless boy, “J” who was 8 years old when the piece was installed last June by J himself, his mother and artist KW. The accompanying plaque reads:
It was not a good day in New York City signage news yesterday. First, DNAInfo reported that the History Channel billboard that has become iconic on the Bronx skyline is on its way down. Then Curbed NY discovered via artist Steve ESPO Powers’ Instagram that the long-running art installation, Love Letter to Brooklyn, painted on the Macy’s skybridges in downtown Brooklyn was also on its way out.