Glossblack Mural Gives Ludlow/Canal Corner a New Look


Here’s something new on the northwest corner of Ludlow Street and Canal Street.

The Philadelphia-based artist, Glossblack, just finished this new mural on the side of the Twin Marquis building at 39 Canal St. It’s a collaboration with the guys at Klughaus, the creative firm with strong roots in New York’s street art culture. Here’s what Glossback posted on his Instagram yesterday:

…thank you to everyone that stopped by to show support, offered us food/drinks, asked ridiculous questions or just stared at me for an uncomfortably long time.

The previous mural on this wall was commissioned by Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. It went up in the spring of 2011, just as Cost (who had just become a Lower East Side resident) was beginning to make his mark with the unfiltered ginger ale (now his product is everywhere).

FAUST Tells the Story Behind His Sunshine Cinema Mural

Photo courtesy of Faust.

Photo courtesy of Faust.

If you have walked by the shuttered Sunshine Cinema lately, you probably noticed the “sunset” mural painted on the roll-down gate. As EV Grieve first noted on Feb. 22, it’s the work of street artist FAUST.

Now FAUST is making the rounds with a video (shot by Joshua Geyer) documenting the work in progress and a personal essay. Have a look:

Every time I approach a new work, I try to find a word or phrase that would be clever, poignant, and site-specific. Oftentimes, that could take weeks of research and brainstorming, but on Houston Street that wasn’t the case. With so many memories inside of those walls, this mural on the shuttered facade of the Sunshine Cinema felt much more personal than most of my previous projects. The first time I saw the gate down and learned of the theater’s demise, I instantly knew I wanted to paint it in homage to the historic site. And the following day it came to me, a poetic sendoff to both celebrate and mourn the final days of the Sunshine Cinema. Sunset.

I confess, as a teenager I became well-acquainted with the back door to the Sunshine Cinema which granted me free access to other worlds on the big screen. Growing up in New York City, a significant part of my adolescence was spent at that Lower East Side movie theater which focused on independent and foreign films. I snuck into the critically-acclaimed 2002 Brazilian feature City of God so many times that I started to believe I knew Portuguese because I had memorized the subtitles. But my favorite time to go to the Sunshine was for their midnight movie. Each weekend they screened a different cult classic on Friday and Saturday nights. I spent my 19th birthday catching a sold out screening of The Warriors, my first time seeing the 1979 film that depicts a New York that no longer exists–gritty, overrun by street gangs, and covered in graffiti.

My career as an artist is deeply rooted in my upbringing as a graffiti writer. The style of my work derives from a contemporary history of writing on walls and subways that spans nearly 50-years. Anytime I paint abroad, I feel like a cultural ambassador bringing my distinctly “New York” aesthetic across the globe. But New York is always home–and always will be. At home the work takes on a different meaning; carrying on the tradition of a wide-spread (albeit illicit) art movement that has risen up from the streets and making a statement that hopefully resonates with my friends and neighbors who see it.

The 30,000 square-foot building on Houston Street has a long history of entertainment in the Lower East Side. Sections of the building date back to 1844, when it first opened as a church, before being converted into the Houston Athletic Club, a prize fight club, in the early 1900’s. Shortly after, the building was purchased and converted into the Houston Hippodrome, which offered moving picture shows and Yiddish vaudeville acts to the growing Jewish immigrant community in the neighborhood. In 1917 the theater was converted into a nickelodeon and renamed the Sunshine Theater. The theater closed in 1945 and was used as storage up until the 1990s. For a brief period, from 1994 to 1998 the space was rented out for concerts and events before being leased to Landmark Theaters. After undergoing a $12 million renovation, the Sunshine Cinema as I know it opened on December 21, 2001.

The Sunshine Cinema isn’t even the latest in a string of closures of historic NYC theaters including the Ziegfeld Theater in 2016 and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas which just closed it’s doors on January 31st. When these cultural institutions have no chance of keeping their heads above water in the current real estate market is it officially time to say New York is dead? As early as 1927 author H. P. Lovecraft had declared “New York is dead, & the brilliancy which so impresses one from outside is the phosphorescence of a maggoty corpse.” But we all know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each successive generation inevitably breathes new life into the city and finds inspiration in the hallowed concrete jungle.

I discussed my idea for the mural with filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and described my dismay when I found out about the closure. I was surprised that he didn’t share my sentiment. Rather, he said he always thought of the Sunshine as a new theater. I suppose if I had lived though the New York art world of the 70s, 80s, and 90s as he had, I’d likely feel the same way. “Have you been to the Metrograph? Now that’s a great theater!” he told me about the new cinema that opened in the Lower East Side in 2016 and recently hosted a sold out screening of his cult classic film Wild Style.

It’s engrained in us all as New Yorkers to gripe every time a local landmark shutters, be it a cultural institution in a historic building or a corner bodega that can no longer compete with the new Whole Foods that opened down the block. It’s part of our DNA to wax poetic about the New York City we grew up in, whichever era that was. But it’s safe to say that more prescient than the idea that New York is dead is another old adage, the only constant is change.

FAUST – SUNSET from Joshua Geyer on Vimeo.

Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela at Galeria Tonight


Tonight at Galeria on Clinton Street, there will be a live performance by Brazilian street artist Mag Magrela at the opening of her new Lower East Side exhibition.

Magrela is part of a feature-length documentary film called Street Heroines, which is telling the story of female graffiti and street artists from around the world.

It’s the second time Magrela has come to New York to paint the streets. Galeria, a combo art gallery/cafe, is located at 43 Clinton St. Tonight’s show takes place from 6-9 p.m., although we’re told you might see the art performance taking shape sometime after 3 p.m.

On Stanton Street: Celebrating the Cultures of the Lower East Side and Balvanera

New Mural at Verlaine Highlights Nelson Mandela’s Message of Love

Photos courtesy of Verlaine.

Photos courtesy of Verlaine.

The national and international news headlines this summer have been pretty grim. The Michael Brown shooting in Missouri, the Staten Island police brutality controversy and the war in Gaza are just some of the events weighing heavily on many people. Gary Weingarten, co-owner of Lower East Side bar Verlaine, decided to make a statement about what’s happening on the roll-down great outside his 13-year old Rivington Street establishment.

Banksy’s Allen Street Work is Removed (Updated 8:29 a.m.)

Social media exploded this afternoon after it was discovered that Banksy had kicked off a month-long New York City exhibition on the side of a building at 18 Allen St., near Canal.  It only took a few hours before someone had messed with the mysterious artist’s new work.

German Artist Henrick Beikirch Completes Stanton Street Mural

Maischa by ECB (Hendrik Beikirch)

German artist Hendrik Beikirch created this mural on Stanton Street. Photos by Tim Schreier.

Over the weekend, Tim Schreier checked in on German artist Hendrik Beikirch, who was finishing up a new mural on Stanton Street (near Attorney Street).

Vandalizing the “Heart Vandal”

Delancey and Ludlow streets. Photo by Jereme Taylor.

Someone doesn’t “heart” Nick Walker’s “Heart Vandal,” which went up at Delancey and Ludlow streets this past summer. Jereme Taylor sent us this photo a little while ago.


Street Art Group Says Little Italy Mural Painted Over By “Grinch”

If you walked past 118 Mulberry Street (where Umberto’s Clam House is located) over the weekend, you might have noticed  this creation, “Christmasaurus,” from Philly street artist NoseGo.  It was part of a larger collaboration between the Little Italy Merchants’ Association and the Little Italy Street Art Project.  But the mural did not last long.  It’s now been crudely painted over.

Faith47 Creates New Mural on East 2nd Street

Faith47 hard at work at 22 East 2nd Street. Photo by Tim Schreier.

South African artist Faith47 transformed a section of East 2nd Street, near the Bowery yesterday.  It’s the latest project from MaNY and Fourth Arts Block (FAB).  Photographer Tim Schreier stopped by, as Faith47 was working on the mural, titled, “The Weight of Air.”   It’s part of an ongoing series curated by FAB’s Keith Schweitzer focused on creating temporary installations “in atypical locations” throughout the Lower East Side. Meanwhile, street artist Dal, Faith 47’s husband, was working on a project of his own yesterday outside the Rag and Bone store at Bowery and Elizabeth Street. Click through for more a couple more photos.

Timeshare Backyard Gets New Look for New Season

Brooklyn-based street artist Never works on the walls of the Timeshare Backyard on Ludlow Street. Photo by Tim Schreier.

As we noted last week, the Timeshare Backyard at 145 Ludlow Street is back for a second summer, and it celebrated the start of its season with some fresh coats of paint last Friday. The grassy lot between Orchard and Rivington streets welcomed the public to watch four street artists go to work on the brick walls surrounding the yard, already home to some distinctive graffiti.

“We tried to be really respectful of what was there,” said Jessica Resler, one of the founders of the Participation Agency, the group that runs the Backyard. “There’s definitely a lot that’s existing. But it’s great that a lot of people got to see this street art being made. People were saying, ‘It’s amazing someone can do that with a paint can.’”

Essex Street Mural Part of Global, Participatory Project

You’ve probably noticed the new wheat-paste mural adorning the facade of 133 Essex Street, formerly the home of the rowdy (and defunct) bar, Mason Dixon. It’s the work of the semi-anonymous street artist JR, who’s the recipient of the prestigious 2011 TED Prize.

The image is part of Inside Out, JR’s ambitious international project meant to “transform messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work.” In the past few days, JR uploaded a trailer to YouTube explaining what Inside Out is all about: