Momo — a New Orleans-based artist whose murals have adorned residential and commercial facades around America and Europe — spent last week in Manhattan completing his latest commission.
But this work is inside, at the 864-unit Mercedes House rental in Hell’s Kitchen. It begins on a wall behind the front desk, curls around a corner and over a mail room, and ends near an elevator bank. Some 150 feet in width, the eye-catching piece shows waves of primary colors that blend into pastels.
“The mural is a nice change of pace to [residents’] … routines,” says Lisa Kim, cultural affairs director of Two Trees Management, which developed Mercedes House. Instead of walking past sterile walls, a creative display guides tenants home. “That’s the beauty of art in public places.”
And Momo likes it, too. “It’s a thrill to see things function immediately,” he says of his latest masterpiece, which garnered stares from passersby immediately upon completion.
Forms of street art — like murals on building exteriors, or hastily drawn tags — were once considered eyesores or vandalism, often official crimes that damaged properties and lowered their values. But as these techniques have evolved into gallery-worthy collectibles, they’ve been embraced by a number of high-end NYC real estate bigwigs. Whether their works are inside or outside of new buildings, developers increasingly enlist artists to help their properties stand out. More than a marketing strategy, these moves help honor neighborhoods’ creative flair and improve their streetscapes.
“Instead of a building that whitewashed the area, we thought it’d be a cool idea to incorporate art into the project,” says Brett Harris of AKI…