Abandoned East Village building turned into secret art show for one night

Hanksy pays homage to "Home Alone.": Credit: Aymann Ismail, ANIMAL New York

An abandoned, derelict four-story building in the East Village was converted into a temporary art gallery Friday evening.

The secret, one-night group show dubbed Surplus Candy featured dozens of street artists and a handful of graffiti writers who spent six previous days and nights inside, covering the ramshackle ruins with vibrant murals, wheatpasted posters, tags and stencils.

By word of mouth and invite only, roughly 400 people made their way past a single doorman and explored the freezing, creaking space inside. No one revealed the address, as attendees were just as complicit in a potential trespassing charge as those who illegally decorated the walls.

The exhibit was the brainchild of the lighthearted street artist Hanksy, his name riffing off world-renowned stenciler Banksy and Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks. He’s known for creating punny, celebrity-infused art.

Hanksy acquired an old set of keys from “a friend of a friend.” The locks were never changed. “Besides my semi-clean record, what else did I have to lose?” he said.

Artists assembled organically – Dee Dee, Cern, Icy and Sot, Alice Mizrachi, Moustache Man, Bishop and more.

“I try to say yes to every opportunity to share my artwork in fun and interesting ways,” said Wizard Skull, 36, who treated the crumbling interior like the streets and worked quickly. “I wasn’t at the space long. I’m used to wheat pasting my work up without permission.”

“I participated because I really enjoy art shows where the artists take over a space and the fact that it was illegal,” said Royce Bannon, 38. “It was more about having fun instead of selling art.”

Nothing was for sale. It’s possible that everything will stay up until the place is demolished — text collages by El Sol 25, psychedelic portraits by Tony DePew and KC Burney’s mischievous skeleton dangling a painted knife through a shattered window.

Despite the atmospheric constraints of slow-drying paint and the legal risks involved, artists greatly enjoyed the leeway and free rein.

“It was an incredible opportunity to take over an entire room without restraint,” said Gilf. “I didn’t have a gallerist trying to make it sellable, or a building owner trying to micromanage my concept. This freedom is what drew me to making work in the streets years ago. It felt very natural.”

Hanksy remained humble about his own art, saying “Like most of my work, all my pieces for this show were fairly insignificant.” One was a prominent, witty “Home Alone” homage “Stairway to Kevin”;  another, a cartoon phallus labeled “David Bowie-ner.”

On a stairway door, Cosbe’s giant block letters read “I can’t afford to live here,” echoing the sentiments of many New Yorkers.

Hidden in plain view, in the heart of one of the most thoroughly gentrified neighborhoods of the city, this doomed building was given a final breath of life – for art and for kicks – if only for one night.

“Much like graffiti, it was transitory,” Hanksy said. “You were either there or you were not, and that was the point of it all.”

To read more by ANIMAL New York visit AnimalNewYork.com.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.