simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: The Wall
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Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Wall

The Wall in SOHO is one of the most well-known pieces of installation art in NYC. Its size, brilliant colors (turquoise aluminum beams on a lavender wall) and location at the intersection of two of the busiest major thoroughfares, Broadway and Houston Street, all give this piece enormous visibility. In reading for this article, I have found egregious errors, heinous omissions, misinterpretations and conflicting facts, typical in online sources. And in the case of long and complex sagas like the story of this wall, the situation worsens as people pick up a fact or two and fill in the blanks, extrapolating as they see fit. To add insult to injury, the misinformation is then copied. All that being said, it appears that The Wall was installed in 1973 by Forrest "Frosty" Myers. According to the New York Times: "The building at 599 Broadway was constructed in 1917. The building next door, No. 603, was razed in 1944 as Houston Street was widened. That building's abutting wall was anchored to 599 Broadway with 42 steel tie rods ending in 42 exposed channel braces. This architectural scar endured until 1972, when Mr. Myers was commissioned to undertake ''The Wall'' by Doris C. Freedman of City Walls, an organization that placed large-scale artworks on the blank facades of buildings. The project was welcomed by Charles J. Tanenbaum, who then owned 599 Broadway. Mr. Myers devised four-foot aluminum extrusions affixed with stainless-steel bolts to the channel braces, forming T-shaped projections from the wall plane. The background was painted blue-gray and the metal elements were green." In 1984, the building was converted to commercial condominiums. The artist has been battling the condominium since 1997. In 2002, the work was taken down for repairs to the building - damage was being done by water penetrating through the artwork. The condo also wanted to generate income via billboard advertising, estimated to be $600,000 per year and was not interested in reinstalling the art. The work sat in storage for 5 years until a compromise agreement was finally reached in 2007. You can read about it here. The newly reinstalled wall will now also be illuminated at night ...


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