Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Own the Night

From early 2009 to mid-2010, the Underbelly Project was the art world’s best-kept secret. After years of kept promises and hushed mouths, the book "We Own the Night" has finally been released offering some three hundred photographs of the project plus the death-defying stories from some of the participating artists.

The story has it that in 2005 New York street artist PAC first discovered a South Manhattan subway station that had been abandoned for 80 years. Compelled to revisit the place, he invited a collaborator, Workhorse, and the two of them conceived of turning the station into a gallery for the world’s leading urban artists. They arranged late-night trips to the "gallery" for more than 2 years, painting night after night to transform the space into the largest underground art gallery in the world.

When the curators declared the project finished in 2010, they invited a handful of friends and street-art friendly journalists who were sworn to secrecy, but there was no opening to show the work and the public were never invited. In late October of the same year, the secret was out when the New York Times ran a feature about an art installation that very few people would ever see. Soon afterward the space was boarded up by the MTA, and its location remains a secret to this day. The new book is the first full document of the work, and though I haven't seen it yet, I daresay it's set to become a seminal book on street art, and may even form the end of a history opened by Henry Chalfant.

More on this great project right here.

2 comments:

Paul Pauper said...

Discretion is the better part of valor, though eventually, it feels nice to be first among equals. Space is the final frontier. We buy the book, we dream the dream. Thank you for your continued academic inquiry into the genre.

Sincerely,

Paul

Paul Pauper said...

Discretion is the better part of valor. Weakened, we will accept the adulation for our effort. Space is the final frontier, a virginal wall. We buy the book, we dream the dream. Thank you for your unflagging inquiry into the genre. Sincerely, Paul.