With income inequality becoming one of the defining challenges of our time, it’s not difficult to understand the increasing democratization of art. In a refusal to cede control to the art world hierarchy, street artists delivered their message wherever they could — public walls and subway cars became means of expression. It’s unclear when graffiti became mainstream, but there’s no question that it has. Christina Aguilera bought a Banksy original for £25,000 in 2006. The Tate Modern in London invited some artists to do outdoor pieces in 2008, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles ran an “Art in the Streets” exhibition which was billed as “the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art” in 2011. A majority of street artists never leave their urban canvas, but Chris Ellis, also known as Daze, is one of the few artists who has managed to successfully transition his work into museums and galleries.
Daze’s contemporaries include the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. “The City is My Muse”, now on display at the Museum of the City of New York, features a selection of Daze’s works. His pieces are mostly of mixed mediums now, a long way from the aerosol cans of his youth. But one thing has remained constant — the city he was born and raised in remains his favorite subject. I can certainly understand the obsession: we’ve obviously dedicated this blog to the very same city and its offerings, and we’ve only begun our journey down the rabbit hole. Daze’s scenes around the city are perfectly at home at MCNY, whose mission is to “celebrate and interpret the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation.” Whether you’re local or visiting, take a jaunt down to this corner of Museum Mile and fall in love with this city and its many layers, for the first — or the thousandth — time.
The City is My Muse is on display through May 31.
1220 Fifth Avenue
Monday – Sunday 10:00 am–6:00 pm
Pair it with:
Ice cream cones from Mister Softee
Now that the weather appears to be warming up (permanently this time, hopefully), proximity to Central Park means ice cream trucks can be found just mere paces apart. Mister Softee has been around since 1956 and is one of the biggest ice cream truck franchises in the country, with a particularly strong foothold in the Northeast. New Yorkers flock to these trucks in the summer, and many will tell you it’s some of the best ice cream they’ve had. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy ice cream from some of the best creameries and I’ll acknowledge that this isn’t of that caliber, but I’ll also confess this hits a particularly special spot, and there are few things I enjoy more on a hot summer day in New York City.
If you’re looking for something more robust, the food pairing from this post is still a favorite in the area.