As the redevelopment of the massive Domino Sugar refinery on the WIlliamsburg waterfront continues to trudge through the city's public review process, what remains of the once mighty sweetener plant continues to deteriorate—or improve, depending on your attitudes towards street art. Following on the footsteps of the busted windows some feared would cause water damage to the main refinery building, now warring graffiti crews have set up shop on the bin building. A concrete addition from the 1960s that will be demolished to make way for some of Rafael Viñoly's 2,200 apartments, the bin building has now been bombed by no fewer than 5 graffiti writers. But it's not all bad news for the development, as it won conditional approval from Borough President Marty Markowitz on Friday, though some of those conditions are pretty steep if also in line with the demands of the local community board, which does not support the project. They include reduced bulk and density for the project; more and better subway service, especially on the L, for all those new residents; and room for a school, supermarket, and "possible artisan establishments" within the development.
Posts tagged with "graffiti":
Chicago is known for the combination of its excellent architecture and tough, gritty urban life. Both aspects of the city's personality met briefly yesterday, when two graffiti crews tagged a long wall of the Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing at the Art Institute. While we would never endorse vandalism, there is no denying the visual power of the bright colors and riotous script dashed across Piano's formal surfaces. The Art Institute, however, did not ponder the artistic merit of the tags. Cleaners from Graffiti Blaster were removing this tags within minutes. The tags, momentarily at least, renewed the debate about how graffiti functions, its artistic value, and its relationship to art institutions--no small feat for a few cans on spray paint. (Tip: Gapers Block via Fat Caps and Chrome.)
As Gothamist and Curbed have pointed out today, workers up on the High Line have begun removing one of the elevated track cum park's dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of graffitos, as seen in the picture above. Everyone seems to be worried about this one mediocre piece, but it's our sorry job to report that the tragedy goes far deeper than that. When we took our tour of the High Line a few weeks ago, one of the most striking things was the impressive graffiti covering the neighboring buildings. With the exception of all those shiny new buildings, it seems every spare brick and beam within arm's reach of the High Line had been coated in decades worth of Krylon. Having glimpsed all this hidden treasure, the obvious question to our journalistic minds--after we got over being awestruck by it all--was what's gonna happen to all this, well, art? One of our chipper tour guides answered something to this effect (and we're paraphrasing here): "As you can imagine, the city doesn't look too kindly on graffiti, so it all has to come down. We'll be painting over it. The city doesn't want to be seen as condoning or encouraging graffiti here. Or anywhere else, for that matter." It's probably too late to save the graffiti, so the best we can hope is that someone's documented it for posterity's sake. We're sure it would make a nice coffee table book, seeing as how it's been deemed unsuitable for public consumption.