A Love Letter To The City

I hope you’re enjoying this milk white and lint grey January day. Oh wait, it’s 40 degrees and sunny out, clear enough that you can see spring, especially if you can hear birds singing and this awesome song by Courtney Barnett. Anyway, it’s not really winter (I tell myself) if it’s warm enough to paint outside.

We did manage to paint a wall for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership at Flatbush Ave and Gold Street on a 15-degree day in December, but we painted it like the cops were coming—100 feet in 75 minutes, before we lost sensation in our fingers.

As long as we have light, we’ll paint, but soon, soon, we’ll have heat as well, and then we have all we need to make magic. Ice is thawing, proposals are trickling in and we are planting the seeds for art projects in cities at home and far away. While it’s still cold, and we are merely thinking, I would like to direct our thoughts to where we’ve been over the last 10 years—in the street, spilling gallons of paint.

I am happy to announce A Love Letter To the City, a new book from Princeton Architectural Press, that will be published Februrary 4th, right in time for Valentine’s Day. The book documents Love Letter projects we have painted in Coney Island, Dublin, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Brooklyn, Sao Paulo, and Johannesburg. It’s a little bit of a memoir, and largely a how-to book on making relevant and resonant public art. The foreword was written by esteemed MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eeley, who 10 years ago helped us break into the fun house that was Coney Island. Eeley’s art world trajectory is a fun house mirror reflection of mine, and I’m grateful to pull faces at it.

So. There are about 30 pages of the book up on Amazon right now and here is a link to download another 37 pages (allow time to load). Together it is roughly half of the book. If you feel like it’s enough to form an opinion, leave one on Amazon and I’ll buy you a seltzer (terms and conditions apply). If, after that, you want it all, we have a limited supply of A Love Letter To the City in hardcover currently available in the shop.

Oh and finally, no matter the weather, we are working on painting a Love Letter to a great New York Institution, the Strand Book Store. It is literally a storied institution and great on at least 4 levels (including and especially the underground). I’ve been lurking in the stacks, and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to lurk and learn. Anybody complaining about the old new york being gone (I see and hear you Luc Sante) should take a walk over to 12th and Broadway and drink in the majesty of the Strand. You may see me there, drunk in the aisle, penning mash notes to the alikeness of great minds.