For the past three weeks Graham Preston and I have been working like mad in my studio to complete my first ever out door public art project (youthful illegality not included).
I will write more about the project in a later post, but in brief I made large gilded icon paintings of a few of the cultural icons who lived and worked on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. These seven artists, along with many hundreds more, made the Lower East Side the crucible of the American avant-garde and a neighborhood that captivates my imagination as a New York artist.
I chose to pay homage to Martin Wong, Joey Ramone, Miguel Piñero, Ellen Stewart, Charlie Parker, Arthur Fellig and Allen Ginsberg. Of course I could have come up with hundreds of other equally influential and prominent figures who have haunted the streets of the LES, but these are my seven.
The Saints of the Lower East Side is installed between the Ellen Stewart Theater and the offices of La Mama etc. on East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave). It will be there until September 5th or so, so please stop by and pay your respect to some of the saints of our American cultural heritage. While you are there please feel free to ping me, it always feels good to know that friends are communing with my saints.
In the meantime I will be trying to find a more permanent resting place for the saints, hopefully in a public or semi-public place on the Lower East Side, so if you have any ideas feel free to pass them along.
Below are a few photos from yesterday’s installation of the piece. Many thanks to Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele for all of there help yesterday with the install and again to Keith and everyone at Fourth Arts Block for helping out with this, and a million thank yous to the great Graham Preston for his collaboration and help actually making these paintings. Also thanks to Carlo McCormick for providing the inspiration and Aaron Zimmerman and everyone at PPOW for help with great photos of Martin & Miguel. Cheers!