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the art collectors » Accidents Will Happen :: Barry McGee Hits Houston Street

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Accidents Will Happen :: Barry McGee Hits Houston Street

(All images and text © Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)

After a month away overseas (more on that to follow), I’ve come home to New York. Before leaving I had gotten word that Barry McGee and company would be coming to the city sometime soon to lend their treatment to the Houston Street mural wall on the Lower East Side. I thought for sure I would miss it, but returned earlier this week to learn I had made it back just in time. So, after several weeks of being absent from TheArtCollectors, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to jump back into things. I hope you’ll agree.

In an amazing twist, life imitated art in New York Sunday night when Barry McGee and crew descended on the Houston Street wall. Beginning at midnight, McGee, together with longtime collaborator Josh Lazcano (Amaze), began a massive spray-painting spree, bombarding the surface with hundreds of simple red tags. Working through the cover of night, the team created the ultimate graffiti writer’s roll call and a strangely beautiful, if not challenging piece of commissioned abstract art. By dawn, it would go much farther than even they could have imagined.

In the coming weeks, reactions to the piece are sure to be mixed, and it didn’t take long for questions to begin. Police made their first visit around 2am, clearly not knowing what to make of the Tony Goldman sanctioned property previously occupied by a Ketih Haring replica, a meticulously illustrated mural by Os Gemeos and the design heavy graphics of Shepard Fairey. No, this couldn’t be legit, this couldn’t be art. After a minor interruption a permit was produced and the police were on their way. They’d be returning though.

By 4am (with some added contributions from Chino) Twist and Amaze had completely filled in the wall with the names and crews of graffiti writers past and present. Seeing the project near completion, spectators, assistants and overseers had left the scene, leaving the artists free to “touch up” a few things. They were soon disrupted by a carload of ass-shaking club girls who briefly hijacked the sidewalk for a personal photo op. Acting as official photographer, Martha Cooper quickly stepped in keeping control over the site, and we turned our cameras on the drunken booty bunch. Barry and crew entered the frame. However amusing it was, this was clearly not how those involved had intended to end the night. Whatever – DFW – this bullshit would all be over soon and they could get back to what they were here for and waiting till dawn to complete.

4:45am and back to work. As it ascended to a few of the harder to reach spots, the buzz of the boom lift was suddenly drowned out by screeching tires. We turned our heads left just as a passing SUV smashed full force into a graffiti-adorned box truck, briefly taking flight and coming to rest on its side. The smell of oil and gasoline filled the air as it trickled out and drenched the pavement. “Call 911,” “Get that fucking cigarette away from here!” A few passersby rushed in and attempted to tear back the shattered windshield to reach the driver. Trapped on his side in an airbag filled compartment, they eventually opted to use the back end as an escape hatch. Bleeding from his forehead, but able to walk, he was pulled from the rear of the vehicle and helped into an ambulance.

By 5am the street was blocked off by police and fire department, bringing more unwelcome attention to the wall. Ordered down from their perch, the artists were subjected to another round of police scrutiny, this time focusing on their recent early morning final additions and concerns regarding the exact zone the work permit covered. Things seemed uncertain, if not dismal over the next hour.

What the hell had just happened? Walking west from the wall, a few hundred feet down the street to the accident and back up again, I started to take it all in – the totaled truck flipped on its side, the broken glass, the flashing lights and sirens all set the backdrop of 850 sq. feet of graffiti. I felt a certain sort of chaotic energy and unnerving excitement, as if one of Barry’s frenetic gallery and museum installations had spontaneously slammed full force into the middle of Houston Street. By 6am he and his mates were in there clear and off to the airport to get the hell out of New York City. Me? I walked up the block and back home where I couldn’t fall asleep for another three hours.


(All images and text © Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)

24 Responses to “Accidents Will Happen :: Barry McGee Hits Houston Street”

  1. August 30th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Barry McGee hits Houston & Bowery | SLAMXHYPE said:

    […] The famous corner of Houston and Bowery has again seen new light. This time its Barry McGee who plays homage to the iconic wall. The wall, which over recent times has seen the amazing Keith Haring replica, work from Os Gemeos and of course the much intruded upon piece from Shepard Fairey. McGee and Josh Lazcano (Amaze), took to the wall to bury its surface in simple red tags, resulting in a much less simple and more eye-catching overall result. I’m going to head down there tomorrow to check it out in the flesh, for now, check out these images courtesy of TAC. […]

  2. August 30th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Tweets that mention the art collectors » Accidents Will Happen :: Barry McGee Hits Houston Street -- Topsy.com said:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TheArtCollectors, Beagle and lorizimmer, Mike Maxwell. Mike Maxwell said: RT @theartcollector: Barry McGee on Houston – full story on the blog. a surreal night-you won't want to miss this. http://tinyurl.com/24stsgb […]

  3. August 30th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Barry McGee Hits Houston Street « RVCA said:

    […] – the art collectors […]

  4. August 31st, 2010 at 6:39 am

    mcgee housten street « Berlin based Streetart / Urban-Art Blog Since 1984 said:

    […] Die legendaere Wand auf der HoustenStreet in NYC wurd gerad neu von Barry McGee bemalt. […]

  5. August 31st, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Creating the Barry McGee wall a lot more awesome than we originally thought « NYC said:

    […] and booty shaking girls."Indeed! Check out some photos… and you can read the whole shebang at The Art Collectors…..(All image © Jeff […]

  6. August 31st, 2010 at 11:35 am

    rebel:art » Blog Archive » Und sonst so? : 31. 08. 10 said:

    […] Barry Mcgee/Amaze in NY. Via/Via/Via […]

  7. August 31st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Nabe News: August 31 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle said:

    […] folks at ArtCollectors were onsite during the Barry McGee mural painting, for the whole night.  From the inbox: “It […]

  8. August 31st, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Barry McGee Houston Street Mural « Artlog said:

    […] The scene was very busy the entire night, you can read up on the entire story over atTheArtCollectors. […]

  9. August 31st, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Sedgwick & Cedar said:

    […] out The Art Collectors for the full scoop and for more […]

  10. August 31st, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    GammaBlog - NYC Street Art, Architecture from the East Village said:

    […] Monday afternoon – Barry Mcgee aka Twist on the Deitch wall at Houston and Bowery. Written over night. I like it a lot better up close than how it looks from a distance. This is apparently the base layer, more paint to come. On the scene coverage from The Art Collectors. […]

  11. September 1st, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Twitted by wefindwildness said:

    […] This post was Twitted by wefindwildness […]

  12. September 1st, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Barry McGee & Josh Lazcano for Houston Street | The Urban Times said:

    […] Jeff Newman / Images and text: TheArtCollectors / Images: Sabeth […]

  13. September 1st, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Barry McGee | Cross-Reference - The Personal Blog of Jan Kordylewski said:

    […] really like the look of this street art piece. Barry Mcgee on Houston street. From the Art Collectors. ( image© Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)   art, […]

  14. September 1st, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Brooklyning :: A Blog About Stuff » Blog Archive » A shit-ton of graffiti at Bowery and Houston said:

    […] See the making of pics here. […]

  15. September 2nd, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Car crash at the Deitch Wall on Doobybrain.com said:

    […] The Art Collectors documented the exciting unveiling of the new Barry McGee (and company) tagged Deitch Wall on Houston Street in NYC. What was so exciting about it? Well, for one, an SUV crashed and flipped on its side just a few feet from the wall itself. Check out some photos here. […]

  16. September 3rd, 2010 at 10:46 am

    houston street mural by barry mcgee | coolography said:

    […] http://blog.theartcollectors.com/2010/08/30/accidents-will-happen-barry-mcgee-hits-houston-street/ Amaze art collectors Barry McGee graffiti houston jeff newman mural new york spray street […]

  17. September 3rd, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    That's The Hookup » Blog Archive » Artists You Should Know said:

    […] galleries, its always on point. His work trulty speaks for itself. For more on the image above read HERE. This video pretty much sums it […]

  18. September 7th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Houston Street Wall Painting by Barry McGee (Twist) said:

    […] out the The Art Collectors’ write-up on the painting, including photos of it going up. The wall was originally made famous in 2008 with a tribute to […]

  19. September 8th, 2010 at 4:21 am

    The Motor Design Workshop said:

    […] I lived in New York around this famous corner of Houston and Bowery and Keith Haring was all over the place at that time in 1989. Made in one night, of course, revealing names and crews of graffiti writers past and present. Art Barry McGee […]

  20. September 13th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    New York (with Video): Barry McGee’s Graffiti Wall on East Houston and Bowery – aartlife said:

    […] All Photos By Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors […]

  21. September 13th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    New York (with Video): Barry McGee’s Graffiti Wall on East Houston and Bowery – aartlife said:

    […] All Photos By Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors […]

  22. October 6th, 2010 at 1:14 am

    the art collectors » Peel Slowly and Read:: TAC Speaks with Author DB Burkeman about his New Book said:

    […] Walls project he provided space for during Basel Miami and he’s been lending the Houston Street wall in New York out for a couple of years now. Actually, I think every artist that has been on that […]

  23. December 2nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    dAH!ily gerks OFF! by cianomagenta TWIS+AMAZE NYC : said:

    […] read tha story HERE. […]

  24. December 6th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Barry McGee Houston Street Mural | said:

    […] scene was very busy the entire night, you can read up on the entire story over at TheArtCollectors. via […]

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