Hanksy Brings Street Art Inside For Last Days of Old Essex Market Building

Hanksy at work inside the old Essex Market building.


We checked in with local street artist, punster and curator, Hanksy, this morning as he and fellow street artists were putting final touches on their full scale murals for the upcoming show, “Market Surplus.” The exhibition, sponsored by Essex Crossing and curated by Hanksy (aka Adam Lucas), is being put together as a final tribute to the old Essex Street Market building at 140 Essex St. before its imminent demolition.

The building is one of four buildings that made up the original Essex Street Market and had been vacant until recently, when it housed the Lowline Lab and exhibition space.

Hanksy at work inside the old Essex Market building.
Hanksy at work inside the old Essex Market building. Photo by The Lo-Down

When the opportunity came up, Hanksy reached out to nine other artists and gave them one theme: The Lower East Side.  “Every piece is kind of a subtle or overt nod to the neighborhood,” he said.

Hanksy told us he’s proud of how quickly it’s come together.  His own piece represents some of his most recent work, which is a step in a different direction from his well-known puns.  The other artists participating are: Buff Monster, Elle, Faust, NDA, BK Foxx, Owvbics, Pixel Pancho, Sonni and L’amour Supreme. “They were all really rad and down with it,” he said, noting that they only started painting this past Monday.

The artist N'DA at work on a tribute to Essex Market's own Luis Meat Market.
The artist N’DA at work on a tribute to Essex Market’s own Luis Meat Market. Photo by The Lo-Down
Photo by Jesse Vega
Photo by Jesse Vega
Photo by Jesse Vega
SONNI at work. Photo by Jesse Vega

Rohan Mehra of the Prusik Group, part of Delancey Street Associates (the consortium developing Essex Crossing) has been working with Hanksy on various local projects for the last couple years.  “One of the things [Hanksy] told me is that there’s a lack, especially downtown, of pop-up spaces where artists can do shows or exhibitions, and he’s done some pretty incredible ones…,” Mehra said. “We figured it was a unique opportunity and he hustled and was able to put it together.”

Looking ahead to the completion of Essex Crossing, Mehra noted, there will be several potential spaces for public art, including a wall at the entrance of the Market Line (a 150,000 sf retail pavilion below Broome Street). The developers are talking with Hanksy about possibly curating that space as a platform for up-and-coming artists.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss this show, though, as it will only be up through the weekend.  Hanksy likes the idea of bringing street art, which is always fleeting, inside for a short-lived event.  “It’s really rare to get to breathe life into an older building, especially in Manhattan and especially in the Lower East Side…It’s nice to let it go out with a jolt,” he said.

“Market Surplus” opens tonight at 140 Essex at 7:00 p.m., and runs Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.  A suggested donation for entrance to the all ages show is $10, which will be donated to the LES Girls Club.