It was the stuff of urban legend - rumors that a historic Manhattan building had important graffiti hidden in its walls. Except, in this case, it was true.
A large mural that was created by some of graffiti's earliest pioneers was discovered recently in a 10-story limestone building in SoHo just as developers were converting it into luxury condominiums. The artwork contains a variety of images and writing executed in spray paint, grease pencil, magic marker and whatever else was on hand - in silver, gold, pink and red. There are cartoonlike pictures of a bomber airplane, images of a heart and a cake, and several references to Quaaludes, a popular 1970s party drug. The mural was found in the eighth-floor loft owned by art critic Edit deAk in the late '70s and 1980s - a time when much of fringe art, including graffiti, was being validated. There is also writing believed to belong to artist Jean Michel Basquiat "Obviously, it's a critical piece of history, SoHo history," says Lisa Dennison, the former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The building's conversion by renowned architect Lee Skolnick was immediately halted in the former loft. Treating the site like an archaeological dig, the kitchen cabinets came down with the gypsum board behind it. Another wallboard and a white tiled wall hid a smaller section of the mural, found in what had become a bathroom. Once freed, the graffiti will be mounted on a lightweight panel so it can be moved. Ultimately, the Namers want to donate the graffiti to a major museum and are currently in discussions with several. Few graffiti walls exist, as many were painted over or destroyed.
I stumbled upon this at work and just thought it was really interesting. The fact that at the time these pieces were being done Im sure the artists had no idea that spray painting on the Apartment building walls would get them into an art gallery (or my sweet blog) 30 years later. Just makes you think.... What will be in Galleries 30 years from now?