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New work by JR at the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery, photo by Scott Lynch
New work by JR at the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery, photo by Scott Lynch


July 1, 2011

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Only in New York, kids, is it news when a real estate mogul takes over management of a stretch of concrete wall famous for the graffiti that’s been painted on it.

Arts patron Tony Goldman, head of the real estate empire Goldman Properties, is now solely in charge of what gets painted on the celebrated freestanding concrete wall at the corner of Bowery and Houston Street in Manhattan’s new Bowery arts district. The wall has been the site of many famous graffiti murals, not least of which was one painted by Keith Haring in 1982. More recently, Goldman Properties collaborated with the now defunct Deitch Projects and later The Hole gallery to present murals there by Barry McGeeand Kenny Scharf and Brazilian graffiti duo Os Gemeos.

Goldman Properties arts manager Meghan Coleman, a veteran of The Hole, is assigned to oversee the art on the wall. Currently on view there, a work by new star-on-the-street JR, the French artist whose giant black-and-white photograph of a squinting Native American man is certainly an esthetic departure from the usual flashy murals. But maybe since it doesn’t look like a wall of tags, it won’t suffer the same fate of McGee’s and Scharf’s -- and keep getting tagged.

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