Brooklyn, N.Y. – Coney Art Walls, a large-scale exhibition that opened in July and is open until September 6, has turned Coney Island into an outdoor museum of street art.
Curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph J. Sitt, the exhibition presents works by local and international artists, including Crash, Daze, Eine, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Futura, KATSU, Lauren Halsey, How and Nosm, Lady Pink, Mister Cartoon, JR, Lee Quiñones, and Swoon. Each artist will add work to more than 25 temporary walls that were set up by Thor Equities in May.
Open seven days a week, Coney Art Walls is a kind of carnival within a carnival. Local food vendors are on site and there’s a weekly summer music series, Coney Art Walls Sundays. The making of works like KATSU’s “dronescape,” painted with a drone he calls “Icarus One,” is itself a spectacle. Other works engage with local history, and the exhibition as a whole calls to mind the urban displays and simulations of Coney Island’s early amusement parks.
Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington of BrooklynStreetArt.com question the designation of the works in Coney Art Walls as “street art” in a recent Huffington Post article. In a piece on Artnet, Christian Viveros-Fauné goes a step further, suggesting that Coney Art Walls is more of a real estate ploy than an art exhibition.
Jeffrey Deitch’s previous projects have also blurred boundaries between street art and gallery or museum exhibitions, and Deitch has been focused on bringing the work of street artists to new audiences in New York for some time. His 2011 exhibition Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles also featured Shepard Fairey, Swoon, and JR, among others. (Art in the Streets had been slated to travel to the Brooklyn Museum in 2012, but the museum withdrew.) From 1996 to 2011, Deitch Projects presented a series of shows and events including the first New York solo exhibition by Swoon in 2005.
You can find updates on social media with #coneyartwalls.