Street art

§ Street Art & Graffiti in Dumbo

Here is more Brooklyn street art and graffiti, but I’ve expanded my horizons to DUMBO. I went to Dumbo for one of the Open House NYC Oct 16 venues at Kings County Distillery in the Paymaster Building at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. FYI: it’s a fun visit.

I went early so I could walk around Dumbo and decided to look for street art. I headed to a less visited area, more industrial and residential than Brooklyn hipster. Most of these are on John and Plymouth streets going north out of DUMBO.

Many of these are closer to graffiti than street art though I mostly ignore that distinction. There were a fair number of political-leaning images and some humorous and tongue-in-cheek. I’ll include a photo or two of the distillery too. Take a walk around Dumbo and check them out in person.

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§ NYC Cultural Affairs Guided Tour of Harlem Public Art

Willie BirchI was lucky enough to get on the list for #NYCultureonWheels and join NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (NYCDCR) Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, Kendal Henry, NYCDCR Director of the Percent for Art Program, artist Gabriel Koren, Eugenie Tsai, the Brooklyn Museum’s Curator of Contemporary art (and Tom’s wife), and a pack of public art lovers. We toured Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) public art and NYCDCR Percent for Art Program pieces. In addition, we were joined by Marcus Garvey Park Alliance President Connie Lee who showed some wonderful work within this underappreciated Harlem park.

It was great to meet Commissioner Finkelpearl and see Kendal again, but I met some new wonderful and interesting people too. Artist Jorge Luis Rodriguez was so gracious and we saw two of his pieces. Connie Lee was a great tour guide. I also chatted with a delightful young woman from The Studio Museum of Harlem and I can’t believe I’ve forgotten her name!


While writing this up I found a fascinating NYT article on Alison Saar’s solemn and captivating piece and why Harriet Tubman is defiantly heading south.

I also found a rather tragic but unfortunately way too common story of Gabriel Koren whose Frederick Douglass sculpture at the northwest corner of Central Park began our tour. The 2015 article describing her loss of studio space, Priced Out of Brooklyn, a Sculptor Seeks a New Studio to Rent, is even more relevant today as I watch and read about the loss of space for artists of all types in nearby Gowanus. Reports like this seem to be in my inbox on a weekly basis.

Back to regularly scheduled programming……Here’s a few pics of the public art, murals, sculptures, and installations we saw on the walk. Click on any image for a slideshow.

§ The new Bowery Graffiti Wall piece by Logan Hicks

If you’ve looked here before you know I love the public art, graffiti, and streetart in NYC. We have a new must see piece just finished at Bowery & Houston. Seeing it in photos is one thing but in person….well, wow. It’s one of those pieces that is great from far away, great closeup, and great while you’re crossing the street (just pay attention so you don’t get run over).

The piece is based on a group shot that Logan took on May 22nd. You’ve got to go take a look; you won’t regret it!

[Click on any photo for a slideshow]

§ Some more Brooklyn streetart….

Walked around Gowanus and Park Slope on the 10th and took some more photos of streetart, graffiti & miscellaneous interesting stuff. So without further adieu……



§ Lilkool & Brooklyn Street Art

LilKool's partnerUsually I traum about these posts and as a result they take forevah. Draft after draft after….you get the idea. But I’m writing about street art and street art can happen on a dime. So….

I was walking around Sunday taking pictures of, well, just stuff….a Gowanus Canal bridge, people, the canal and….lots of street art and some graffiti. I came across two guys working on a wall. I liked what I saw so we started chatting. The designer/artist goes by LilKool (also @Lilkool on Instagram) and he’s prolific and talented. I’m sorry I don’t remember his partner’s name. Anyway here’s a few shots of the unfinished work. Hint: there’ll be black lining to the color shapes though I’ll admit to liking the cloud-like look too. Below I’ll also included a couple of LK’s paintings. The art is at the corner of Sackett and Bond in Gowanus. By the way, they really, really need a scissor lift to finish the top half so if you have one…Click below for a screen show.

There was a lot of other interesting and elaborate work in Gowanus, much more than I’ve seen in the Slope. I’m not really drawn to the Dungeons/Dragons look of many of these works but the skill is undeniable. All this work is in a small area bound by 3rd St, Bond, Butler, and 3rd Ave with most on or just off Bond and Nevins on the other (East) side of the canal. Check these out too. I’ll add some artist identifiers when I have a chance. You, though, just need to take a tour of Gowanus!

§ Gowanus Canal Brooklyn Graffiti

This week Karen and I took a fascinating water tour with the Working Harbor Committee led by Captain Margaret Flanagan and Joseph Alexiou, tour guide and author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal. The Hidden Harbor Tour of Gowanus Bay left from Wall Street Pier 11 and headed over Brooklyn way. We toured through the working port facilities along the shore, went into the Erie Basin (location of the Brooklyn Ikea), then back out to the Red Hook Basin and Gowanus Bay and finally headed into the Gowanus Canal. Map below, right.

Tour map showing graffiti area
Tour map showing graffiti area

Old, abandoned, and decaying warehouses and buildings line the water as you enter the Gowanus Canal. They present quite a canvas for the city’s graffiti artists even if it’s a bit hard to get to (both for the artists and those wanting to see the work). As you’ll see, some of the spots chosen make you scratch your head as to how the artists got there. The photos were taken from port side (left) of the boat and are in order of time taken.

We can argue about the value of these works and graffiti in general. I personally put graffiti, street art, and Public Art (with a capital P&A) in the same genus but different species. Certainly any number of graffiti and street artists end up as “real painters” or public artists and some like Banksy hit the big time. In this case there is no defacing, no harm, no foul. In fact it improves the visual environment. We can have a discussion about this over a beer.

One last thing, the captain was able to talk the drawbridge operator at Hamilton Bridge into letting us through (see the third image in the slideshow). It was very, very cool. Oh and I appreciate the chutzpah of the family in the canoes. Their sanity though……

NOTE: The day was very cloudy and it was getting late. I tried to manipulate and lighten the the images some but also wanted to present the art in a realistic way.

Click on any photo for a slideshow.