Volume 75, Number 38 | February 8 -14 2006

Villager photo by Clayton Patterson

Artist Missing says auf wiedersehen

After some stalled earlier attempts, artist Peter Missing’s quest to fly back to Berlin, Germany, got off the ground on Jan. 26. Joe Pupello, executive director of the Federation of East Village Artists, and Clayton Patterson, owner of the Outlaw Gallery on Essex St., were there to see him off at the airport. A charismatic East Village figure in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Missing was one of the leaders of the fight against imposing a curfew on Tompkins Square Park that culminated in the 1989 riot. He was also known for graffitiing his iconic symbol, the upside champagne glass, signifying “the party’s over,” all over the neighborhood. From 1993 to 2000 he was in Berlin, making industrial music. The last two years saw him back in the East Village. But unlike in the ’80s, when he could find affordable apartments and squatter buildings to crash in, this time he found himself homeless and selling his art on the street to survive. He slept in community gardens and lived in shacks in alleys or on rooftops, which he built without using nails and considered “art projects.” FEVA, a three-year-old group that puts on the annual HOWL! Festival and assists local artists, raised money to pay for Missing’s plane ticket. He said he’ll return to the East Village again someday, but he finds that in Europe there’s a greater respect for art. The night before he left, Missing had a final art show in Bobby Maldonado’s apartment on E. Third St., where he spent his last few days and did some of his paintings on the walls and ceiling as a parting gift.

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