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REVS sculptures destroyed

April 16, 2005

Two of the deservedly famous REVS sculptures recently featured on Untitled Name and Wooster Collective are gone. Rode through DUMBO on my bike this afternoon and the two best pieces are just fucking gone. Someone sawed through the bases of both scultures and removed them.
And so Bloomberg’s Buff marches on. The mayor who made such a big show out of some too-expensive Ikea curtains puts a machine into place that steals two of the best, longest-standing, joyous public artworks in the entire city. Maybe now the snobs who like to look at pretty pictures online but get the vapors at the thought of a tag on their door will finally fucking get it: the cops will destroy all the fucking art they can find. All of it. From the simplest tag to the greatest shit you’ve ever seen. All gone. Anything unsanctioned, anything sponsorless, — anything that’s proof of the free creativity of regular people — well, the city’s for sale, everything must go!
Back in October I wrote on my old fotolog:

I always get mixed feelings riding around Dumbo on my bike looking for street art. There’s a ton of work up, mostly east of the Manhattan Bridge but also in a few spots between the two bridges. There’s a fair amount of intricate, time-intensive work, and some “classic” stuff that’s escaped the buff, such as some early Swoon pieces, and these REVS installations. And the way the work fits in with the gritty, industrial & cobblestones vibe of the area is just awesome.
But further southwest, over by Main St or Washington, where the big developments and condos are, it`s absolutely clean, as devoid of art as Park Slope or the Upper East Side. When they opened the Brooklyn Bridge park, a lot of “cleanup” happened, most notably the painting-over of a great brick wall that had a half-dozen Swoon pasteups. So I wonder when I’m wandering around down there how long this all will last — when does the neighborhood get so developed that they start to destroy great pieces like this one?
Anyway. I don’t suppose graffiti qualifies for historical preservation status, but maybe it should….

Maybe it’s time to revisit that last idea. Or does anyone out there have a better one?

UPDATE, 4/17: Coming over the bridge today, I noticed that the huge REVS/PEEK mural has been painted over in the same gray used to buff the rooftop under the Manhattan Bridge. By creepy coincidence, the New York Times has an article about these very sculptures on their front page right now. What the hell’s going on?


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14 comments on “REVS sculptures destroyed”

I guess it could be some idiot “collector” who stole the pieces — which would make it worse in my mind. The second piece was sawed through, severing the black base from the orange tag, so if it was a collector-thief, they managed to destroy the piece in the process of acquiring it. A big hearty FUCK YOU to anyone who would even consider taking a piece like this out of the public sphere where it belongs. You don’t do the man’s work for him.

WOW.. that sucks..
I have been following Revs work sine I can remember..
wheatpaste, epoxy and nailed paintings.. man.. endless
I have seen so many of the metal works all around the city..
always fresh.. A shame to see them go..
I was just up there for the Tsunami show at Halcyon..
glad i had a chance to see them one last time..
Stay Up!

I found a REVS piece in a wierd corner of Gowanus and am wondering if an art collector will snatch it up before the cops do. Sometimes I think the collectors might be more of a threat than the cops; this spot is forgotten.

marc and i were talking about this last week- it’s best that whenever you take pictures of revs stuff, you don’t put on location data- b/c there are certainly jackass collectors and cops that will go down there with a blowtorch or a tow-chain and rip them right off.
in the end, though, it’s part of the nature of the art- it exists for awhile, and then it disappears. revs has made this stuff as durable as any graf, and short of welding it 25ft off the ground, this is about as long as we could have expected some of it to last.

re: jake’s comments, it never occurred to me that adding a location could endanger a piece. on my old fololog i was meticulous about giving locations, on the hope that people would go and check the pieces out. in retrospect i guess you’re right.
as far as graf being temporary, that’s still just not something i’m resigned to. i can appreciate a blank slate every once in a while, but i don’t agree with the prevailing idea in the street art scene that ephemerality is good. i wish a 20-year old dondi whole-car would roll into my station on my morning commute. the whole city, a living museum.

While I appreciate the idea that perhaps “graffiti qualifies for historical preservation status,” I think the temporary quality of art such as Revs, gives it value. As commercial art holds a monetary value, the brief life of street art lends it an immediacy. It is part of the culture of today, the City of today. NYC is a living museum and as New Yorkers know, more that any other, this City changes rapidly. In that way the, lose of Revs sculptures represent a fundamental quality of the City.

i’ve been marveling at REVS’ work since I was a kid. now I have a rehearsal studio down in DUMBO and every piece of his that I discover is a little treasure buried in an old neighborhood, once-forgotten and curently-suffering-gentrification.
the sheer scale of that Front/Jay St. mural was always enough to take my breath away.

there seems to be a bit of a clean-up in Dumbo, most of the visible rooves from the bike path and subways on the Manhattan Bridge are being buffed. This happens a bit frequently, but maaybe the mayor is showing off Dumbo this week? To the Olympic commitee?
WhoT.F. knows

Wow… THIS IS CRAZY! About a month ago I seen some cops either standing at the door next to that orange one, or possibly standing in front of the Revs sculpture… I remember thinking, what a sH%ty time not to have a camera, it would have made a great picture… I wonder if they had anything to do with it..
Personally I have 2 theory’s.. Maybe I been watching to much Tv, but….
1.) Isn’t it a bit of a strange coincidence that Revs comes out with this big story in the FRIKIN NEW YORK TIMES.. And then the sculptures are gone?
I mean its definitely interesting, and entertaining to think Revs has some kind of super powers that he can use to be interviewed by the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and no one in law enforcement’s going to care…
I wouldn’t be surprised if some cops, or even the Bloomberg administration read that article, and had them removed.
I mean for God sakes I was reading the article online this morning and they basically printed the sculptures locations in the news paper….
2.) Hate to blame the press, but I guess everyone’s a suspect in this one huh? If this guy who actually wrote the article was a real di%k, maybe he took them…. From what I read in this guy Randy Kennedy’s article, Revs did show him half a dozen sculpture locations…
Who ever did do it, I hope they put them back when there done. :/
Them things were unreal…….
Revs is definitely the most talented, creative, and innovative writer in New York… He’s a real deal New Yorker, hopefully he comes up with some new crazy idea… Much love Revs.

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