graffitistreet art

New York’s Underbelly

New York’s Underbelly Gallery – opens and closes.

Artofthestate is a sucker for access to man made underground tunnels and street art so when a story appeared over the weekend in the Sunday Times Magazine (subscription required) that combined both it seemed like a match made in heaven (or more appropriatley, hell). The London Underground has a few ‘ghost’ stations that were never finished or abandoned when others opened nearby. Unfortunatley they remain sealed, closed off to the outside world and subject to tight security. Covered in a complete darkness that’s actually hard to find living above ground they sit there locked in a parralell time. It turns out that New York has similar places and one has been briefly revealed over the weekend to be possibly the best kept secret art gallery in the world. Spanning over a year more than a hundred artists have been invited down to the depths to spend up to their limit of four hours creating a work of art by flashlight. Access is pretty unorthodox – it sounds like they walk off the end of a normal platform and then navigate their way through the darkness to an unfinished part of the Subway system where platforms with empty trackbeds and walls await their paint. Reports suggest that this is completely illegal – certainly similar places on the London Underground (and there are a few that can be accessed by similar methods) are well protected by security measures and the law. As a result now that the decision has been taken to reveal the gallery it has also been locked down by removing the method used to gain access.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m more than slightly envious of those who have had access but I’m pleased to report that although the place is unlikely to be opened up again in the near future several documenters of street art have been invited there in the past year to record the art below. Luna Park has a great set of pictures on her Flickr stream and Ian Cox has more in a similar vein on his Wallkandy blog. Both photographers have done the place justice but with more than a hundred artists there’s still more to be seen. Elsewhere Vandalog has a decent write up of his experiences of his visit along with his own pictures.

Keep an eye on the official Underbelly website for more information including a complete list of all the works.

Artists include: Logan Hicks, Faile, Roa, Elbow Toe, Ron English, Chris Stain, Meggs, Remi/Rough Kid, Zoom, Revok, She One and M-City

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