Reading the Streets: Whale of a painting
NEW YORK – Artist LNY is back in New York after a spell in Korea, with a mural, The Golden Hour on 22 E. Second St. near Second Avenue. Against a background of light blue waves, with a red border above, two swans curl around a whale. The whale’s tail likely resembles those of his ocean family, but its face seems to be turning into a pipe or tube of some kind, a melding of organic and inorganic, animal and machine.
The swans’ bodies are feathery and beautiful as always, but with a slight blue glow from the sea backdrop. The glow only makes them more beautiful, at least compared to their their neon yellow beaks and red eyes, which seem to follow the viewer down the street. The effect is beautiful but menacing. Adding to the unease is a tiny sun wedged in between the beak of one swan, that looks as if we’ve interrupted its afternoon snack.
The wall space is part of ArtUp, a public art series spearheaded by Fourth Arts Block curator Kurt Schweitzer. The program transforms otherwise underused and under-loved public spaces like construction sites and scaffolding into inviting open-air art galleries.
The program got an extra boost when FAB partnered with the Murals Around New York ( MaNY), and studio and gallery Ideal Glass, which owns this particular wall, to triple the scale of the program.
As the march of gentrification and its parade of glass and steel condos, it’s nice to see an explosion of public art at the same time, whether it’s this, the Centre-Fuge Truck, or Tony Goldman’s Wall on the Bowery. The visibility and location make the art and the block feel more accessible, telling the viewer, no matter what happens the block is yours.
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