Friday, August 15, 2008

Field Trip: Great Jones Street

-While Great Jones Street makes up only two New York blocks, they are truly two of the city's most interesting. Great Jones is currently home to the stellar streetwear boutique Memes and the Acme Bar & Grill, where you'll find some of the best Cajun food you'll ever eat outside of New Orleans.
-I snapped the above mural on the corner of GJS and Bowery simply because it caught my eye. However, a few days later the New York Times ran a feature on the mural, which is actually a recreated version of a piece by the late Keith Haring. His protege, Angel Ortiz, repainted the wall and added his own flourishes as a fitting tribute to Haring's life and work. Parallels have often been drawn between Keith Haring and Andy Warhol: both were revolutionary gay artists who died young and hailed from Pennsylvania. Much like Haring, Warhol had his own protege, one who made his own mark on the history of these two blocks.
-In 1988, Jean Michel Basquiat died in a carriage house at 55 Great Jones Street, which he rented from Andy Warhol. Like Ortiz, Basquiat had used his graffiti inspired art to modify the work of his mentor. There is no plaque to honor Jean Michel, just an upscale sushi joint that now occupies the building's downstairs. Ortiz's mural is truly all that is left, the street's lone remnant of the three artists who left much too soon.

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