Volume 76, Number 30 | December 20 - 26, 2006

John Ranard

A salute to the anti-war themed work of Shepard Fairey.

The 30,000-square-foot canvas

The line stretched around the block to get into 11 Spring’s temporary museum for urban art this weekend, but for the 5,000 people who made it in, the wait — which lasted anywhere from one hour to five — was worth it. Inside, visitors were treated to a kinetic, high color collection of work by over 45 street and graffiti artists from Milan to Japan who bid farewell to the famous landmark for street art before it becomes an upscale condo. On each floor of the five-story building, you could find tags, paintings, prints, paper sculptures, LED displays, rubberbands and more on the walls, staircases, pipes, beams, even the cooling vents. “This was really a confirmation that art in New York City isn’t about Chelsea galleries only, or the Met or the MoMA,” said Marc Schiller, who along with his wife Sara, comprise the urban art group the Wooster Collective, which curated the show.

John Ranard

Muck (left), and right, “Beauty’s Only Street Deep,” a collaboration between John Fekner and Don Leicht

“This was an event New York City needed. We didn’t fully grasp that until we saw that people were waiting five hours, a week before Christmas, to get in.” The building’s owners, Caroline Cummings and Bill Elias, made the event possible by donating their building to the people of New York for the three-day show, but Schiller credits everyone involved, from the artists who donated their talent to the public who donated their time, for making this “one of the great public art events ever.”

John Ranard

GoreB, mixed media

“I think a statement was made,” he continued. “Art needs to be redefined so that it can reconnect with the public, with the common man.” The Wooster Collective plans to host an artist’s panel in the New Year, and ultimately to publish a book of photography documenting the event, but “right now,” he said, “the only thing Sara and I have planned is sleeping.”

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