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Graffiti as Art in New York City, part 3

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 6/18/2003, updated 1/2005 - www.Littleviews.com ]


JANUARY 2005:

THE COOL SALLY HAWKENS GALLERY EXTERIOR WALL DESIGNED BY BILL SCHIFFER NO LONGER EXISTS, BUT YOU CAN SEE MORE PICTURES OF IT AT www.BillSchiffer.com OR THE LINKED SITE, www.SallyHawkinsGallery.com

IF YOU WISH TO CONTACT BILL SCHIFFER DIRECTLY, PLEASE DO IT THROUGH HIS WEBSITE.

THAT SAID, MY ARTICLE BELOW WAS ABOUT THE MURAL AT MR. SCHIFFER'S WIFE'S GALLARY AND I DID NOT DESCRIBE THE VIVID, CHUNKY JEWELRY, SCULPTURES, AND OTHER ART INSIDE. SOME OF THIS ART, WHICH WAS CREATED IN THE 1970s AND 90s, APPEARS ON THEIR SITES AND IS FOR SALE. YOU'LL LOVE SEEING IT!



AUGUST 2004:

I WAS CONTACTED BY A CONCERNED READER WHO TOLD ME THAT THE WONDERFUL SHOP DESCRIBED BELOW IS NOW OUT OF BUSINESS. SALLY HAWKINS, BILL SCHIFFER'S WIFE, WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BRAIN CANCER AND AT THIS TIME IS UNDERGOING CHEMO. THIS IS EXTREMELY SAD FOR ALL CONCERNED; THEIR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CUSTOMERS, AND GENERAL PUBLIC WHO'VE LOVED THIS COOL STORE SINCE ITS INCEPTION.


There are great picturesque- and graffiti-style murals around New York, but, as you'll discover if you hunt for them like I do, not nearly enough. When you do find one, consider yourself exceptionally lucky. Where they don't exist, you're likely to see a mess.

Illegally-painted, chubby-letter graffiti is everywhere. Walls, garage doors and fences that are chubby-letter-free, however, are very often decorated with murals that express something about the neighborhood, a nearby shop, or are freshly painted-over.

The mural you see here was constructed out of plywood and painted graphics between 1983 and 1995. It's the work of Bill Schiffer whose gallery was once inside. Mr. Schiffer became famous in the 1980s for his Plexiglas jewelry. Today, the building houses the fabulous, sparkling Sally Hawkins Jewelry Gallery, but several pieces by Schiffer are still there.

To best appreciate the mural, walk from one end to the other on the adjoining sidewalk, and then do the same from across the street. You need both perspectives to understand what's going on.

If you take photos, shoot detail rather than wide areas. Unless you normally have poster-sized prints made, it is hard to grasp the magnitude of this work. By shooting the details such as you see here, you can produce images that are easy to recognize and will look great in a photo montage (group of photos) back home.

There is, unfortunately, almost nothing on the Internet about Bill Schiffer. In a way, that's good. The lack of information about him makes it all the more compelling to come to New York to view his work for yourself.

In addition to the mural, weekends bring a lot of attractions to this neighborhood.

On the rainy Saturday when I took these pictures, different corners of the intersection featured a Black American tap dancer dressed in a 1930's suit, a "graffiti truck" that advertised the artist's work, and a huge, life-sized bronze sculpture of 1930's skyscraper workers sitting on an I-beam, smoking cigarettes and eating lunch.

Now that's entertainment!

Sally Hawkens Gallery
Former Address:
448 W. Broadway and Prince Street, Manhattan, NY

Questions or comments?

Karen Little

Bill Schiffer mural, W. Broadway and Prince Street, Manhattan, NY










Bill Schiffer mural, W. Broadway and Prince Street, Manhattan, NY










Bill Schiffer mural, W. Broadway and Prince Street, Manhattan, NY










Bill Schiffer mural, W. Broadway and Prince Street, Manhattan, NY







Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 6/18/2003. All rights reserved by www.LittleViews.com.










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