We like findings spots that feature walls slammed with street art in a most organic way, the aesthetic signature of a current ecosystem mid-evolution. These spots are often a magnet for street artists to get up in NYC, L.A., Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami, Boston, London, and beyond. Usually illegal, they allow the artists a quick way to safely leave their imprint on the chaos of the city, a welcome to international artists on their spraycation as well as locals who relish the feeling of standing among peers. The art is usually limited to small original pieces, stickers, and posters, wheat pastes.
We call them “magnet walls” – and NYC has had its share of them. Now, however, they are increasingly endangered because of Gentrification and the voracious real estate market in the city with its apparent never-ending appetite for building new soaring soul-free glass towers. One spot is still welcoming artists to its walls: Freeman Alley. This favorite enclave, composed of two long walls along a narrow corridor in the Lower East Side, is constantly updated in an organic way with contributions by local and international artists. We have surveyed it for years, often publishing our findings in the popular “BSA Images Of The Week.”
Last week we rolled by the alley again and to our surprise, we discovered a gate ajar; one that leads the lobby of a relatively new hotel. Usually locked with a code, this secret Bowery spot instructs guests to enter through the alley. Once inside, they’re greeted with a nicely landscaped, small-scale courtyard leading to a lobby. Surprisingly, it is now bursting with new stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, collages, wild imaginings. Technically, this is a legal magnet wall – but most of the artists whose work is on display here can also be found illegally on the walls of the alley. Here’s a fresh selection just for you:
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week and welcome to summer in NYC here on its 2nd day. Also Happy Father’s Day in the US.
Juneteenth. White Fragility.Defund the Police. How to Be an Antiracist. All of these new terms and phrases erupting on the main stage of the public lexicon today speak to a fundamental disgust with the system that’s been in effect. As uncomfortable as it may be, our better selves know that the conversations and changes that have started are vitally necessary to have if we ever want to move forward as a society.
Right now in New York people are marching, protesting, drinking on the street, setting off fireworks, and holding doors open for one another with a new sensitivity thanks to internal bruising. We also see people disregarding safety precautions in the spread of Covid-19, and honking their car horns more often.