Here’s an update on the saga over “Snow White,” the mosaic work by French street artist invader that was once prominently featured above the Olympic Diner on Essex Street.
The team building the Essex Crossing project intended to save the piece before the building, formerly part of the Essex Street Market, was demolished a few weeks ago. But someone broke into the construction site and stole about three-fourths of the tiles. Last month, local gallery owner John Woodward sent us a photo purporting to show a partially reassembled “Snow White,” with a blanket strategically placed over part of it.
In the past week or two, we’ve spoken on a couple of occasions with Rohan Mehra of the Prusik Group, who’s overseeing public art in the new Essex Street Market for the development consortium. Pretty quickly he concluded that the photo is likely a fake. The tiles are not easily removed and tend to break up when pried from a brick wall.
More to the point, however, Mehra has been in touch with Invader (via an assistant), who made it clear he does not want to see “Snow White” reconstituted and remounted in a new location. The mysterious artist thinks a lot about the context of his works; his preference was to see the mosaic crumble along with the diner, which closed last year. Mehra said Invader might be willing to create a new work inside the new market building. It’s possible they’ll collaborate on a project in the future, although no specific conversations have taken place about that.
A lot of people, it seems, felt an attachment to “Snow White.” Local resident Victoria Reichelt says her daughter coaxed her into contacting Invader about the fate of the Essex Street mosaic. The response was very similar to what the Essex Crossing team was told.
So there you have it. So long “Snow White!”