Anyone wishing to get a glimpse of the art world back on the early 1980s should check out the film

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Much is already known about the life and death of this prolific painter who would have turned 50 this year. Very little is understood of the personal side of Basquiat’s genius. The film successfully unveils the rags to riches tapestry from a very compelling inside perspective, including an interview from 1983 that was stashed away in a closet until now and intimate nuggets from the likes of Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, among others.

We also get to witness NYC back in the heady days of sex, drugs, music, clubs and art. How many of us remember how cool Soho once was and how gritty the area now called Nolita had been?  The art scene was so truly available and accessible, unlike the high brow, elitist landscape it has evolved into today.

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ArtistsinAuction

Currently, an ongoing exhibit throughout the month of October, this quirky mishmash of things scattered east to west along 14th street, is a lesson in futility.

You can actually pick up maps at various locations that specify the many installation locations, but in my recent outing at least 8 out of 10 indicated spots I visited, mainly street corners, were completely barren. Even the artwork supposedly housed in specific storefronts was next to impossible to find.

This is not to say all was lost. If you’ve ever wandered along 14th street in Manhattan, you know that you’ll not be remiss for lack of activity. Union Square in and of itself is one of the most lively destinations in NYC, especially on a warm Fall afternoon.

And art is, in fact, in many odd places in the Big Apple. I was searching for a piece called “Distressed” on the southeast corner of the park. To no avail. However, I did come across some familiar figures from my recent DUMBO outing. I think these guys are everywhere, trying to make a point no doubt, although I’m not quite sure what it is.
Art in Odd Places 001

Art in Odd Places 004

Next stop, moving westward, was Good Stuff Diner. Nada. The owner didn’t even know to what I was referring. A tad more luck at Artie’s Hardware. At least they knew about the artwork in question. Unfortunately, neither the artist not the artwork ever appeared.

Just next door, was an installation on the second floor windows of Pratt Institute. Art, I guess. In an odd place, hmmmmm. Onward.

Art in Odd Places 011

The Andrew Norwood House had a small neon light piece called “Brick” on its brick façade. The manager kindly turned the lights on so I could see what all the fuss was about. Further along, at Dubspot, a great little coffee shop, the attendant knew exactly what I wanted. I had to wait while he served an espresso, but then he used the remote to turn the TV on. “Lost Sheep” was the title of this psychedelic panorama. At this point I had pretty much “lost” my patience.

"Brick"

"Brick"

"Lost Sheep"

"Lost Sheep"

Finally, at Tenth Avenue Car Wash, I thought I hit pay dirt. Just my bad fortune that the piece was only viewable during the night hours.

So, during the month, if you happen to be strolling along 14th street, keep your eyes open. There are, in fact, some pieces of art in odd places. You just have to be very, very lucky to find them.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.