French graffiti artist Blek le Rat, "the man who gave birth to Banksy," has added his stencil to the Details Guild street art wall, a project of Details magazine.
He is one of a handful of artists who will be featured on this wall--the wall of the doomed Interstate Foods packing plant. The people of the Standard Hotel's outdoor cafe spaces have a clear view of the wall, where they once had a view of bloody meat hanging on hooks.
If they like it, they (and you) can buy a limited edition print of the work from Details magazine.
The walls throughout the former meatmarket, empty of meat, have become a mini mecca for street art, some of it sponsored by galleries and corporations, but most of it (presumably) still unsanctioned.
It seemed to begin when the New High Line opened and traffic poured into the Meatpacking District.
It was happening as the city, and/or the Friends of the High Line, removed graffiti from around the old tracks. In the case of Revs/Cost, they faded the paint to a less aggressive, more tourist-tasteful tint. Will the High Line also kill the galleries, as predicted last year by Charlie Finch in ArtNet?
In Swindle magazine, Monsieur le Rat once said of galleries, "The problem with galleries is that… 99% of urban artists use urban art as a stepping stone into the galleries. It’s a fatal error because in galleries they’re seen by 40 people, in museums they’re seen by 10 people, but in the streets they’re seen by 100,000 people. And that’s the integrity of an artist’s work: to be seen. Not be sold or to be recognized in a museum—but to be seen by the world."
Maybe the only art we will have left in Chelsea, eventually, will be street murals vetted by fashion magazine editors.
Sometimes, it's hard to tell art from advertising, and the outlaws from the in-crowd. The lines keep moving. The streets keep shifting. It's a fascinating and disorienting space in which to stand.