Just by walking down the street, it’s possible to view a form of art that you won’t find at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or even at the MoMA. Ephemeral street art, which can be found throughout the world, still remains mostly in the shadows in New York City. However, artists such as Keith Haring, Banksy, Shepard Fairy, and Space Invader have been using the streets as their canvas for decades.
But Joe Mangram‘s art is a bit different than graffiti artists. Mangrum is a 41-year old award-winning artist who has utilized public spaces around the globe as his canvas for sand art. He has created over 200 large scale sand art installations around New York City alone. Each “painting” takes between six to eight hours to complete. Unlike most works of art, these works are not intended for posterity. When he is finished, Joe sweeps up the sand to reuse in another installation.
Joe Mangrum working on an installation in Columbus Circle:
Joe Mangrum working on an installation in Union Square Park:
Mangrum’s work is constantly changing and in many ways is never complete. Similar to Le Mur (“The Wall”) in Paris, the performance aspect is paramount for Mangrum’s sand art. Watching him breathe life into his art and then take it away is as important as observing the design of the sand. Ephemeral street art exists all around us in New York City. Unfortunately, we usually just pass it by.