Arts Watch: The New Old Bowery at the New Museum

Martin Wong: Photocollage, 7 x 11 in, Courtesy Fales Collection. Photo by Tim Schreier.

On a recent trip to the New Museum to see its Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969-1989 exhibition, I was reminded of the Bowery of my youth. There were certainly no art museums dotting its landscape (or star-chef restaurants or luxury boutique hotels for that matter), but there was plenty of art. Only I didn’t know it. What I do remember is how run down it seemed—tired looking buildings, garbage strewn about, off-putting restaurant supply stores (a few of which are still holding on) and, except for a few “colorful” characters who were hanging around the flop houses, empty streets. It all seemed so desolate. Of course, these images came from inside the safety of my mom’s car, as we drove on the Bowery on our way to or from Chinatown or someplace else. Little did I know that inside those buildings I was staring at was a different story completely-–a thriving and lively artist community.

Kenny Scharf Takes His Turn at Houston & Bowery

The artist takes a break from work on the mural wall at Houston & Bowery

Everyone is smiling about Kenny Scharf‘s new work in progress at the mural wall on Houston & Bowery (also known at the Deitch Wall).  It’s very appropriate that the longtime friend of the late Keith Harring gets to make his mark, as the wall was originally put up in tribute to Harring who famously tagged the location back in the 80’s. The wall is being “curated” by Deitch Projects and many uber-taggers have been asked to contribute their own graffiti art over the last couple years. More photos after the jump.