Photos of 2023 on BSA – #13: The Bowery/Houston Dialogue Continues

We’re celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next by thanking BSA Readers, Friends, and Family for your support in 2023. Picked by our followers, these photos are the heavily circulated and “liked” selections of the year – shot by our Editor of Photography, Jaime Rojo. We’re sharing a new one every day to celebrate all our good times together, our hope for the future, and our love for the street. Happy Holidays Everyone!

In Manhattan, at the corner of Houston Street, the Bowery Wall has reclaimed its voice in the visual dialogue of the streets this year. Marked by a vibrant array of characters, letter styles, and slogans, the wall has transformed from just another graffiti-covered surface to a vehicle for promotion and commerce, a vociferous platform for protest and argument, a landmark of artistic expression that is with and without permission. Originating in past decades as one in a sea of graffitied walls, it served as a laboratory for many artists, including the famously renowned Keith Haring.

During the go-go 2010s, the wall underwent a change that shook and reshaped its character. Owners and real estate champions of the arts Tony Goldman and later his daughter Jessica, transformed it into a more formally curated showcase. This shift occasionally sparked controversy among local graffiti enthusiasts due to its blend of artistic and commercial interests, attracting a surge in bombers and detractors.

This year, with a relaxed approach to curation, the wall has witnessed a resurgence of street-led creativity. The result is an ever-evolving, organic display of visual artistry – a dynamic and eye-popping chaotic showcase that continually engages the New York audience. A notable figure in this artistic whirlwind is Optimo NYC, a native talent often seen at the forefront, almost like a de facto Mayor of New York, complete with his signature top hat and tails.

Optimo NYC. Houston/Bowery Wall takeover. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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