We spend most of our days wandering around our cities or towns, headphones on, staring at our phones and not paying attention to our surroundings. The other day I ran smack into Meryl Streep because I was so wrapped up in a Twitter conversation about ornery cats.
Of course, running into Streep doesn’t happen every day, but there are things that we tend to miss on a regular basis. Art is one of those things.
You don’t need to go to the Met or the Guggenheim in New York City to see world-class art. Art is everywhere in the city, and one artist is trying to help us realize that.
Camilla Webster, co-founder of New York Natives and host of its program ArtBeat, is on a mission to highlight the art in front of us in New York City. Last week, she presented an exhibit of photos at the TEDxNavesink Accelerators conference of the five boroughs to show the city from a fresh perspective. Webster’s photos ask us to stop and attend — to engage in the practice of seeing by looking up, down, around, and in front of us.
“I want people to see that art is everywhere in many different forms, particularly in NYC. Wherever you are, take a moment to truly see everything in front of you,” Webster said. “I hope you will see NYC with a fresh lens. I would like all of you to find joy in the art all around you and to find happiness in the interesting beauty and curiosities of our everyday.”
From the art-studded High Line to often-overlooked underground subway art, here are just a few of the unexpected places to experience art in New York City.
Webster went to see what was left of the iconic 5 Pointz in Queens in February 2015. While the famous 5 Pointz was destroyed, the remaining street art and graffiti are incredible along 22-44 Jackson Avenue. (Photographs by Camilla Webster)
Beneath a gritty underpass in the Bronx are these masterpieces that support commuter traffic.
This photo was snapped in the subway on a trip from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to Manhattan.
Webster was heading toward Penn Station and, while waiting for the light to change, discovered the head and torso of a man, like an ancient Greek statue reaching out of the pavement.
“Crack Is Wack” by Keith Haring. Driving past the handball court on a winter’s day, this classic mural stands the test of time and is a bright spot at 128th Street and Second Avenue, Manhattan
Webster captured this photo as she zoomed past Brooklyn in a car. The stained glass piece “Watertower" was designed by artist Tom Fruin. For Brooklyners, it’s just a case of looking up to see “art is everywhere.”
Webster went for breakfast at a diner near Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and fell upon this masterpiece around the corner. Nothing like seeing the hand of God on the weekend!
The “Imagine” mosaic in Central Park’s Strawberry Fields was designed in Naples and has drawn the public for decades to remember John Lennon, his music, and his vision.
“Times Square Kiss” by Eduardo Kobra on the High Line.
Camilla Webster in Chelsea in 2014, leaning against one of the many graffitied walls she admires as street art.
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