Photos from a recent trip to the UnderbellyBy
The Underbelly Project story hit the Internet like a wave on Sunday night, and as the story broke, it seemed clear that PAC and Workhose, the project’s curators, had told those who participated that they could talk about it on October 31. From a look at most of the pictures and some Exif data sleuthing, it appeared as though the photos taken by Luna Park and Vandalog were taken in late July and early August. It would only be a matter of time before the more adventurous and foolhardy among us tried to access the site.
Recently, some intrepid urban explorers have taken the initiative to find the South 4th Street station and photograph it today. Bury Me in Brooklyn posted what they found on an excursion to the site earlier this week, and it appears as though local taggers have defaced the art. While some of the pieces have remained graffiti-free, many have been tagged over (1, 2, 3, 4).
In the realm of the illegal, the high road doesn’t exist. As Cap’n Transit pointed out to me via Twitter, the debate focuses around a conundrum: “You put your vandalism on my artwork! No, I put my artwork on your vandalism! No! Yes! No!”
Yet, from the perspective of street art morals and artistic romanticism, the taggers shouldn’t have defaced the Underbelly Project. I’ve heard that locals were upset about the way PAC and Workhorse’s efforts drew both internationally famous street artists and such overt attention to what had been a relatively secret spot. Either way, it is a testament to the fleeting nature of this project, and while the MTA has no plans to erase it, time and other artists will take its toll.
Let me take this opportunity to remind my readers that is both illegal and highly dangerous to access the South 4th Street station and the Underbelly Project area. It’s trespassing in off-limits MTA property, and the authority has repeated stressed how violators will be caught and prosecuted. Don’t do it.