Reading the Streets: Winter’s long assault on NY
NEW YORK – After beating assault charges in London, street artist and yarn enthusiast Olek is free and back in New York, this time choosing the East Village Lower East Side as the setting for her latest cozy, knitted invasion. Having already addressed the charges in a four-panel Martin Luther King quoting work in London, she’s free to address less lofty subjects, notably our seemingly endless current winter.
This time she’s knitted cozy, colorful sweaters for a series of Flexible-Flyer sleds, with the words “Chilled to the Bone” sewn in white yarn on the center. The rest of the sled sweaters were knitted in shades of pink, red and blue yarn, whose brightness is only magnified against the backdrop of the icy winter sky. Like much of her work, which as appeared all over the city (my other favorite is the time she crocheted the Astor Place Cube) the knitting softens the hard edges of the objects it covers, inexplicably, but delightfully making metal appear comforting and cozy.
The sleds were first spotted on the site of the former Billy’s Antiques on the Bowery, and on a fire escape on Second Avenue. Both locations generally get a lot of foot traffic, so it was a treat to see one of the sleds pop up on a fire escape above a Henry Street tenement on a sleepier Lower East Side block, which while close to Chinatown, is not nearly as crowded. It’s nice to see the area getting some street art love, a present for walking off the beaten path.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE