Wooster on Spring: A Three-Day Celebration of Street Art
Hands-down, this was my favorite art show of the year.
If you feel any sort of affinity for street art—it comes in many forms, but most often as stickers, or sprayed-on stencils, or straight-up spray-paintings, or plastered-on 3-D mini-sculptures... all a kind of cousin to graffiti—then I suggest you do whatever it takes to get to 11 Spring Street sometime this weekend for a truly once-in-a-lifetime exhibit/celebration.
Seriously. In case you don't know the backstory: the exterior of the long-empty building on the corner of Spring and Elizabeth Streets has for years been a favorite target for urban artists. Finally, 11 Spring was bought and is slated to be gutted... but before turning the place into multi-million dollar homes, the developers, working with the Wooster Collective, invited street artists from around the world to have one last party, to converge on and cover 30,000 square feet of wall space inside and out. For the past two months the likes of Blek Le Rat, Elbowtoe, Bo and Microbo, Prune, Rekal, Lady Pink, Cycle and many more have been doing just that. And come Monday morning it'll all be entombed behind dry wall, or water-blasted away.
Yes, it's different to view this stuff in a "controlled" environment (though it's hardly a tidy one—the five-story setting feels, appropriately, like a squat) than when you stumble upon some artistic surprise on the street. But Wooster on Spring is as much a celebration as an exhibit, and I've never felt such a festive (though bittersweet), community atmosphere at an art show before. It's like all these legends stuck their heads out of the underground for a moment or two, to pay tribute to one of their medium's greatest canvasses, and by weekend's end they'll be scattered and anonymous and working in secret again.
One caveat: I waited for probably 45 minutes to get inside early Friday afternoon, and I can't imagine it's going to get any LESS crowded on the weekend. But even if you don't have time to stand on line, it's worth at least strolling by and checking out the newly created exterior. Like I said, it's never going to look this way again.