Home Abandoned Stations Photos from a recent trip to the Underbelly

Photos from a recent trip to the Underbelly

by Benjamin Kabak

Workhorse's contribution to his Underbelly Project gallery has been defaced. (Photo via Bury Me in Brooklyn)

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.

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Spencer K November 5, 2010 - 2:16 pm

Respect has no boundaries.

Spencer K November 5, 2010 - 2:17 pm

Or rather DISrespect.

Al D November 5, 2010 - 3:00 pm

The ‘original artwork’, has only been ‘appended’ and ‘enhanced’. Since all acts here are illegal, and for good reason, how is one right or more right and the other wrong or less right.

The original artists are coming from an anarchistic perpsective as are the ‘taggers’. So, I don’t really see what the big deal here is except that the original artists love this tuff except when it affects their own work. So they are not that rebellious and anarchistic is reality, are they? They like the wild ride of NYC up and until it directly affects them in a ‘negative’ way.

Mike Fierman November 5, 2010 - 3:09 pm

are you seriously suggesting the artistic merits of the tagger are in any way comparable to the original painting? it has neither been appended and certainly not enhanced. defaced and disfigured, spoiled would be more accurate.

Al D November 5, 2010 - 4:20 pm

What I am saying is that the same Freedom of Expression concept is at full play. The original artists expressed themselves by breaking laws and now the appending artists are doing the same. This is not someone going to MOMA with a spray can.

Additionally, one’s art is another’s tagging. As in all art, it’s a matter of taste and pespective.

I happen to be of the opinion that by electing to ‘display’ the artwork where it is, the artists exposed themselves to this type of risk. It is not their space, nor is it the taggers. To have an expectation the artwork would be undisturbed was foolhardy.

Peter November 5, 2010 - 10:20 pm

Remember folks – It’s not only Trespassing. It’s FELONY Trespassing.

Groncho November 8, 2010 - 12:40 pm

Actually it’s a class b misdemeanor.

Full set of shitty cell phone pics @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/5.....214917863/

Tsuyoshi November 6, 2010 - 1:06 am

Actually some of the people who’ve been arrested for visiting recently said they only got misdemeanors. Still, it’s especially stupid to go visiting right now. The cops can read about this in the New York Times just as easily as anyone else.

Underbelly Project seekers winding up in jail :: Second Ave. Sagas November 11, 2010 - 3:32 pm

[…] possible to get up there, and those who have eluded the police found that the locals have tagged the art. For its part, the MTA reiterated its stance it will not be erasing anything on the walls, and the […]


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