Saturday, September 18, 2010

MOMO's ingenious art feat


The pink geometric path zigzagging the map of lower Manhattan is a 2006 pavement graffiti by MOMO, first brought to notice by Best Roof Talk Ever and published today in the New York Times.

This seemingly simple, yet puzzlingly complex feat gives one faith in the possibility of art. Not art as mimicry, event and self-aggrandizement, but art as a form of ingenuity, originality, anonymity and conceptual savvy. 


How did MOMO do it? BRTE explains:
After requesting a meetup, MOMO told my friend that he accomplished this task by fixing 5 gallon paint buckets to the back of his bike, poking a hole in the bottom of the containers, and riding though the West Village, SoHo, Greenwich Village, East Village, and Alphabet City. Momo made the tag in 2006. Some parts of the line have been covered up by roadwork and redone sidewalks but most of the line is still visible.
What does it mean? BRTE puts it well:
Essentially, most graffiti writers enjoy seeing their name on things. The bigger they can paint it and the more visible their tag is, the more people will notice their conquering of the city. MOMO created the largest tag in New York, yet the scale of his work here, so massive that it can’t all be viewed at once, means that thousands of people will walk on it each day and never even notice it. It’s simultaneously the biggest and smallest artistic statement I have seen in my time here.
Without sucking up to New York, let me bring the point home: When one sees the boring, sophomoric, pseudo-art that populates many of the walls of (soon-to-become-a-tourist-trap) Wynwood's galleries and compares it with MOMO's urban intervention, one wishes we had more MOMOs in Miami.