The Garment District Alliance, in partnership with the NYCDOT, has closed two blocks of Broadway this summer and installed a site-specific work on the temporary pedestrianized street – a 400-foot long “road tattoo,” created by Steed Taylor. The work, called “Sew and Sew,” in reference to the history and current industry in the Garment District, is a part of the NYCDOT’s Artereventions Program. Sew and Sew includes the names of Garment District workers who have been active in the neighborhood for at least two decades.
The “Road Tattoo” is spread across two separate blocks, one on Broadway between 39th and 40th Street, and another between 36th and 37th Street. The patterning is the same in both locations. Steed Taylor, an artist from North Carolina, is known for his public artwork using custom traffic color paint and has previously completed a commission for Riverside Park in New York City that commemorated bike messengers killed while working.
In Taylor’s artist statement about the road tattoos he states:
Road tattoos are a result of my investigation into the intersection of memorials, ritual and public art coupled with the idea of repurposing a very common public space for art. Road tattoos are commemorative, site-specific, community-based public artworks. Placed at locations of community significance, road tattoos are composed of cultural designs previously appropriated to mark skin. Names, or other information, are painted within the design, a nondenominational prayer commissioned for the piece is said and the design is painted in, covering over this information. Subtle, close in color to the roadway, road tattoos are made with high-gloss latex causing them to appear and disappear with passing light. Eventually traffic and weather conditions dissolve them into the road.
This summer, there will also be additional cafe tables, chairs, planters, and trees in the pedestrian plazas run by the Garment District Alliance, along with the existing UrbanSpace Garment District food market. Sew and Sew is a follow-up to the Alliance’s most recent installation, Fancy Animal Carnival by Taiwanese artist Hung Yin