Tristan Eaton's Bowery Wall Mural Offers an Intermission
Made famous by Keith Haring’s legendary “Crack is Whack” mural from the 1970s, the Bowery Wall on Houston Street is the most well-known canvas for street art in New York City. Managed by Goldman Properties, the wall is more than a rite of passage for street artists, it is practically the peak of the form. Until a couple weeks ago, the wall hosted an original piece by Banksy, but he requested it come down early so Tristan Eaton grabbed his cans and got to work. He wanted to give us an indulgence that we often won't even give ourselves.
Street art is one of the fastest forms of art and created outside of the pressures of capitalist structures. The results tend to be reactive and truthful, responding to the culture and politics with agility and boldness. Americans are currently engaged in intense political turmoil, the ramifications of which will likely to reverberate for decades. It's not just an American experience, but New Yorkers feel the issues acutely as the center of American culture. It’s a lot to take in on a daily basis, almost oppressively so, and Tristan wanted to give us a break. An intermission from the terror.
“This piece is meant to be a break from the daily horror of global events, a momentary pause to let your mind wander and escape the collective anxiety felt in the United States today,” Tristan explained on his Instagram. “I was compelled to paint something intentionally apolitical. A literal INTERMISSION from the noise and madness - nothing more.”
It’s notable that Tristan took over from Banksy whose piece was sharply political, an indictment of the Turkish government over their persecution of Zehra Dogan for painting an image of a destroyed Kurdish town draped in Turkish flags. In the endless battle to bend the curve of history towards justice, emotional and visual fatigue is real and a well-sharpened tool of the oppressor. Every soldier needs their rest, their respite. Tristan’s latest piece offers an intermission to find that rest, inspiration, and some colorful joy.