Checking Out the Second Round of “Murals on the Bowery”

Ellen Berkenblit, 261 Bowery

Walking down the Bowery at sunset yesterday, when we came upon a mural of a woman and her small red cat in some kind of dialogue, a work by Ellen Berkenblit painted on a steel roller shutter, we knew we had arrived. For “After Hours 2: Murals on the Bowery,” the collaboration between Art Production Fund and the New Museum for the latter’s Ideas City Festival, 15 artists have been commissioned to paint murals on storefront shutters along the Bowery. The results are inspiring. The murals were unveiled last night and will be on view through September 29.  

Alex Israel, 272 Bowery

With a map in hand, we walked from Houston to Grand street, Instagramming what we saw. Here’s a huge self-portrait, in profile, by Alex Israel, the artist who did that talk-show type interview series with celebrities last year.

Derrick Adams, 274 Bowery

We almost missed this one by Derrick Adams, because, as you can see, all it is is a bunch of cartoon-like eyes on a black background. Most everyone else was missing it too, so when we found it, it felt extra special.

Dana Schutz, 240 Bowery

From across the street where we were standing, Dana Schutz‘s “Flasher” grabbed our attention. This fantastical and colorful painting of a trench-coated flasher who has things in his jacket like scissors, a saw, and some watches, is one of our favorites. The “Flasher” seems like a fitting character for the Bowery.

Adam Pendleton, 212 Bowery

Adam Pendleton‘s simple use of text on a white background was startling. Pendleton is known for incorporating language into his work. Whereas most graffiti is illegible, these clean, legible words made people stop and read.

Sylvie Fleury, 159 Bowery

Sylvie Fleury, 159 Bowery

Sylvie Fleury‘s contribution, which declaimed “Miniskirts are Back” in gold lettering against a black background garnered instant fashionista fans stopping their boyfriends for impromptu photo ops like this young Italian woman who was not wearing a miniskirt. Fleury, whose current show at Salon 94, “It Might As Well Rain Until September,” inspired Jerry Saltz to don a pair of high heel shoes.

Nao Uda, 216 Bowery

Japanese artist and SVA alumnus Nao Uda was the one artist who was included after winning a partly crowd-sourced, partly juried competition. His image of a cartoon-like character holding up a string of paper dolls perfectly matched the color-scheme of the existing awning.

Mel Bochner, 180 Bowery

When we got to Mel Bochner‘s mural, these young men were still working hard painting this text that says “blah blah blah, etc.” They knew very little about the artist, but they were friendly enough.

Daniel Buren, 136-138 Bowery

Daniel Buren‘s work took up two roller shutters and looked good from afar. After taking in the last of these, we headed back up to Salon 94, where, at the after party, revelers were already swilling cocktails and trying on high heel shoes — as part of Sylvie Fleury’s show, of course!

— Rozalia Jovanovic

(Photos: Rozalia Jovanovic)