New York City is full of street art, some famous and some not-so-famous. The famous pieces became so because of their creators, the zeitgeist they represent, or the statement they make when put in a certain setting. You’ll find that the city is full of painted walls and free-standing sculptures to view and peruse. Some pieces stay put, while others are always changing as new artists come along to make their mark on New York City’s ever-changing art landscape. Following are five pieces of street art to visit when in NYC.
Image via Flickr by Arch_Sam
Charging Bull, also known as Wall Street Bull or Bowling Green Bull, is located in Bowling Green Park in the Financial District of Manhattan. It has an interesting history in that it was originally a piece of “guerrilla art.” The artist, Arturo Di Modica, put up $360,000 to create the sculpture, then had it placed underneath a 60-foot Christmas tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange in 1989. The artist retains ownership of the statue, and the city issued a temporary permit for its current placement. Some 27 years later, it looks as if the sculpture is here to stay.
“Love” by Robert Indiana
This iconic sculpture has graced the Avenue of the Americas since the 1970s. It began life as a pop art print that was used for a Christmas card issued by the Museum of Modern Art in 1964. Indiana’s print was so popular that it became a sculpture made from COR-TEN steel. It’s been reproduced in many different languages around the world since then, but the New York City version is among the first wave of sculptures created from the print. The popularity of the sculpture endures to this day, which means visitors might find themselves waiting in line to have their picture taken in front of it.
The Artist Invader
Invader is an artist much like Banksy, in that he creates pop art for the street and installs it in a stealthy fashion. His artworks draw upon the 8-bit design style from arcade games. Sometimes he puts his own spin on mashing characters from famous video games, other times he makes simple designs out of mosaics that have a cartoonish appearance. Invader puts his pieces up on buildings around New York City, and they are sometimes located a little off the beaten path. A smartphone with GPS like the Galaxy S7 from T-Mobile can help you locate the works quickly. Using T-Mobile’s network, you can find the pieces with your phone’s map application and GPS much more easily than with a paper map.
The Audubon Mural Project
This project is a series of murals painted on the sides of buildings throughout upper Manhattan. The idea behind the project is to highlight bird species that are threatened by climate change. Most of them are clustered around Sugar Hill in Hamilton and Washington Heights on the streets between W 143rd St. and W 158th St. near Broadway. You’ll have to do some walking around to see all of them, but it’s a worthwhile effort. If you want to see all of the murals, turn it into a treasure hunt and keep a photographic record with your smartphone.
Graffiti Murals Throughout the City
New York City is full of graffiti throughout all of the boroughs, but one of the most easily found pieces is at the Houston Bowery Wall, a sidewalk-level wall that has provided a blank canvas for many graffiti artists through the years. Keith Haring started the wall with his artwork in the late 1970s, prompting the owners of the building to view it as a place for graffiti artists to make their mark. As a result, the artwork changes regularly, giving the wall a constantly fresh, new look.
These are five pieces of New York street art that are worth taking the time to see. They represent humanity in all of its stages, make bold statements, and liven up an otherwise drab urban environment.