Beauty’s Only Street Deep

Collaborations, Don Leicht, Exhibitions, Space Invader, Stencils


Wooster on Spring

Dec 15-17, 2006
John Fekner & Don Leicht
Beauty’s Only Street Deep
Wooster on Spring
Candle Building, 11 Spring Street NYC

Photo by Jeewon Shin

a black and yellow target

amongst the poster-splattered walls

beauty and the moon marker

within the candle’s lighted halls

the painters dressed in overalls

the suits in designer clothes

all crave the stray and shiny dogs

that wander in the road

Scenario The Dream Exchangers

This particular December night had all the indications it would be as ordinary as usual; an evening stroll, window-shopping; crossing the busy streets like countless times before. Without a warning, this moment was about to be permanently etched into the minds of everyone who was out that night. For the pedestrian, it was a walk around an unfamiliar block that turned into a cul-de-sac. For the driver, it was a wrong turn into a dead-end street. Instantly, an adrenalin rush splinters throughout your entire system, leaving a metallic taste in your mouth. The uncertainty of your movement is caught in the frightened eyes of two startled dogs staring in opposite directions. Potential witnesses caught in a frozen motion. Although your mind attempts to recall minute details of the incident, you really remember only the most symbolic elements and simplest forms. Two dogs, a moon, a hint of a horizon and a brightly lit LCD sign separated by double white lines on the blacktop asphalt. Once again…your space…has been…invaded.

The Installation

In our site-specific collaboration at 11 Spring, we set out to create an installation that not only incorporated the architectural structure of the cul-de-sac wall, as well as making a specific connection with Elizabeth Street four stories below. It was our intention to reference the ‘outdoors’ by depicting a section of street asphalt that appeared to be uplifted 90 degrees and is now ‘read’ as a vertical plane. The wall was painted flat black representing the road surface. The text and stark images were created using spray paint and enamel colors on this field. The building’s brick architectural features were integrated within the work: a recessed indentation is painted white suggesting the lines down the center of a street, and an electrical fixture cap near the ceiling is transformed into a full moon.

The concept

Our intention was to create a message-driven work that was stark, lean and concise. Is beauty only on the surface? Is it on the pavement? Is it on the street or on skin? Maybe on a screen. Could it potentially engage a dialog about the differences of art making on the street compared to art exhibited within an indoor sterile space? Is it an observation, a critique or a question?

The Historical Reference

The Intention

The 11 Spring Project gave us a rare opportunity to embrace what we love to do: Making art in a raw space for an enthusiastic audience with a desire to encounter something new. We’ve both have had many experiences through the years, installing work in unused and raw industrial spaces. We wanted the audience to be exposed to art that is not about art or dealer-driven created art objects. Our work, in the many coats and hats, it has worn, has always been from the people and for the people “NuYorkAmericans” Same blood/same air.

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