your time is now!

There’s a good bit of billboard art going around these days.

Last week I was flipping through some magazines and found an ad for an exhibition by Richard Hoblock at the Kim Light Gallery in LA, which showed an image of his first public space artwork, a large billboard work that was based on a photo but looked like a painting and was entirely abstract, a flow of lines and swirls and brushstroke-like marks (you can just imagine someone up there with a huge 3-foot brush!). When I saw the image of the work, all I could think of was that is soooooooooooo West Coast.

What would an East Coast example typify?

Probably not right on the mark, but pretty good, was the Color Shift work by the terraswarm artists. The Columbia architecture school website described the piece as such:

On a series of evenings in the months of February and March 2007 the billboard was illuminated, transforming the urban area around it and the Queen’s grocery facility.

The Columbia text likely comes from their press release to coincide with the exhibition for the work (opened last week), which happens to be about the only bit of text that locates the work in Queens. Even the architect-artists’ website never mentions Queens as the borough in which their ‘urban’ art took place. The opening of the exhibition was proceeded by a lecture, which some reported back from. David, a commenter over on BLDGblog said,

I went to the “lecture” the other day.

Sometimes it’s better to admit that something just looks cool.

Another blogger writes,

The colors are linear and have no connection what so ever to the immediate environment and the public spaces. They dont really care about feeds and corresponding changes in the colors because it doesnt work “technically�. Ofcourse, a long contorted architectural theory ensued to explain why the piece wasnt a contextual misfit.

Ahhh the ol’ architectural theory schtick, eh? Oh well! Billboard public art, it’s a tough business after all!

(Myself I’ve been documenting a billboard rig near where I live for several months now, taking photos of it in different atmospheres and climates. Still thinking about what to do with the documentation (thus just thumb-teasers, no full-size images yet, still compiling them) – why is one intrigued by a billboard? These structures are domineering, and all for a flashy ad or two. Yet they are engineering marvels, and have developed into an industry within themselves. They are here to stay for some time – we might as well work with them.)

Related websites:
Wikipedia Billboard_(advertising) article
Gothamist – Illegal Billboard Crackdown article (they close mentioning Houston Street)
Gothamist – nearly two years later! 40 ft. beaver shot on Houston Street

funny, idinit?