MEIER in the City: Graffiti

  • Michael Meier
  • 10/7/19

Known for its vibrant urban art that plasters the concrete jungle and adorns the historic city scape, New York City’s graffiti is something to experience in person and not just through photos on social media. MEIER Agents Joseph Sterling, Shane Mehigan and Paul Martin Kovic each host this month’s exciting segment of MEIER in the City from some of the top most visited graffiti destinations in Manhattan!

The reconstruction of the World Trade Center pulled at the heart strings of many individuals for obvious reasons when it came to redesigning an aesthetic best fitting the Financial District, so the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contacted Larry Silverstein to spruce up the rather underdeveloped construction zone. Together they wholeheartedly commissioned 50 local artists to display their art and lift spirits at street level.

The bleak, giant metal structures that store the buildings’ cooling and operating equipment were beautifully painted over and inspiringly brought to life with creative and bright visuals. Luckily, the artists’ illustrious visions can be seen freely by locals and tourists alike without any charge.

Larry Silverstein instinctively came to mind as Silverstein Properties was praised in early 2017 for inviting 50 street artists to illustrate their work on the walls, floors and windows of the 69th floor of 4 World Trade Center. The work collectively came to be known as “Graffiti in the Sky,” and is currently leased by Spotify. It was originally designed as a temporary, collaborative project that stemmed from a simple conversation but remains a permanent vision from the clouds.

Although not home to the origin of graffiti, New York City’s very own street art can trace its start back to the words “Bird Lives” — which were tagged by artists after the passing of influential bebop jazz soloist Charlie Parker in 1955. It wasn’t until the early 1970s, however, that the center of graffiti began to shift from Philadelphia streets into New York City, being overtaken by graffiti artists like TAKI 183 that would mark subway cars and areas underneath the tracks.

The iconic Houston Bowery Wall Mural located on the corner of Bowery and Houston was first painted in 1982 by legendary pop artist Keith Haring, which many consider to be his very first large-scale public work. It eventually began to see new life through curator Jeffrey Deitch and the wall’s current owner, Tony Goldman, who started collaborating with artists like Os Gemeos and Shepard Fairey. In 2008 the public outdoor piece paid homage to Haring by recreating his mural on what would’ve been his 50th birthday.

“I was in a cab, saw it, snapped a picture [and] still have it in my phone” – Paul Martin Kovic

The Lower East Side wall is still used as a blank canvas by renowned street artists and has been kept on a rotation. Most recently Queen Andrea had the chance to showcase her work and take over the wall with her own art. Her focus on typography with the words “Believe” and “Love More” were designed to be encouraging messages that remain a more positive outlook while celebrating the city’s cultural diversity.

Tune in now to watch the full episode of MEIER in the City!

Which mural in the city is your all-time favorite? Are there any undiscovered graffiti spots we should know about? Share with us in the comments below!

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