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Street Art of Shrine? Maybe Both

Subway-shrine-nyc-untapped-new-york1Nicole Saraniero writes for UnTapped New York that there is a makeshift shrine to Mercury spotted at a Brooklyn NY subway station.

When you are running late and waiting for the subway, you may find yourself praying for it to arrive quickly. Well, it looks like one subway rider has taken their plea for timely service to the next level by creating a cardboard subway shrine. This makeshift ode to the god Mercury was spotted by straphanger Russel Jacobs in the Utica Avenue A/C stop in Brooklyn.

The subway is a the perfect place to find guerrilla art and fun pop-ups like this. The shrine features a sketch of the Roman god Mercury with winged feet, a winged hat and winged staff. Mercury is known as the god of luck, commerce, communication, among other things. The most appropriate for this application, Mercury is the patron of travelers. The altar of the shrine is strewn with an offering of yellow roses, red electric candles, a trio of dice, a miniature bridge and a Metrocard. Perhaps if you leave an offering, Mercury will smile upon you and your train will arrive on-time.


The Artist Making Tapestries Out of Aquatic Trash

Jo Atherton’s colorful works turn our plastic crisis into a meditation on memory and time.

Jo Atherton’s tapestries can’t be ignored. They’re filled with texture, movement, and color. When placed on the blank walls of galleries, they’re like fishing lures for the eye: visitors will spot them from across the room and hone on in.

“Often, people are drawn to them,” says Atherton. “They don’t quite know what they’re looking at … It’s only when they get up close that they have that shock moment of, ‘Oh my God, it’s rubbish!’”

This is not a judgement. Atherton, a freelance artist based in Bedfordshire, England, literally makes art from garbage. Some of it is old garbage—pieces of pottery and glass from ancient Rome, lent gravitas by the passage of time. Some of it is slightly more recent, like the nests of rope, fishing net, and colorful plastic doo-dads that make up those sneaky tapestries, which she calls “Flotsam Weaving.” She finds all of her materials herself, in the depths of the Thames and along the low-tide lines on Cornwall’s beaches.

One of Jo Atherton's flotsam tapestries.
One of Jo Atherton’s flotsam tapestries. Courtesy Jo Atherton

Atherton prefers to beachcomb in Cornwall, on the U.K.’s southwest coast. “A lot of material washes up in the winter because of the Gulf Stream,” she says, and she and other seekers pick up stuff from all corners of the Atlantic: the West Indies; the Eastern seaboard; Nova Scotia. Atherton describes the tideline as “a story,” and scavenging along it as “an act of reading.”

A detail from a flotsam weaving, featuring a bubble wand and a rooster-shaped bike reflector that once came free in boxes of Kellogg's Cereal.
A detail from a flotsam weaving, featuring a bubble wand and a rooster-shaped bike reflector that once came free in boxes of Kellogg’s Cereal. Courtesy Jo Atherton

Often, she must imagine the characters that populate the resulting tales: What kid played with this plastic soldier? Who disobeyed their parents and released this now-popped balloon? But sometimes, the real ones make themselves known—as when she found a fisherman’s tag that had floated to Cornwall after detaching from a lobster buoy in Maine. “I thought, ‘I’ll type his name into Facebook and see if I can find him,’” she says. “And sure enough, I could.” Later, they talked on the phone, and realized they share a birth year, 1979.

Experiences like this inspired her Flotsam Weaving series, which she says is about “the threads of stories … [and] the similarity between text and textile.” More recently, she has been exploring other media, including printing and cyanotype. For these works, she arranges tiny bits of plastic in repeating, often circular patterns. Silhouetted and abstracted by ink or photochemicals, they look like plankton viewed through a microscope. “Prehistoric plankton settled onto the ocean floor and slowly turned into oil,” she says. “That’s now what we’re making our plastic from … the prints are a way of getting people thinking about these deep-time connections.”


Margot Niederland's Otherworldly Boxes

IMG_7403You can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art right now and see a small selection of Joseph Cornell boxes or you can go to 21 Ludlow Street in NYC's Chinatown to see a much more interesting array of boxes by Margot Niederland.

She explains, "I began creating assemblages as a counterbalance to my many years of photographing and filming. As a photographer and documentarian, I go into the world and capture reality. I put a frame around what I see and create an expression of what already exists. Alternatively, my assemblages are tableaux of miniature worlds. They are created from my subconscious rather than from any pre-conceived ideas. I work with a ‘palette’ of hundreds of found objects I’ve collected over the years. After choosing the first piece to become an axis for the work, I juxtapose other pieces with synergistic associations. As the montages coalesce into milieus, the individual pieces transform into symbolic metaphors, creating scenes from an unknown movie. These assemblages are open to interpretation, inviting the viewer to enter and participate in their own creation of a dream narrative."

Her work is on exhibit (and on sale) until March 25, 2018.

Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital Ruin Porn

I am fascinated by buildings in ruin. And apparently there are many abandoned psychiatric hospitals that have been allowed to fall into decay all over the world. Atlas Obscura just posted an article on them. The one that is travel-able for me is Creedmore which is on the border of Long Island in NY.

CreedmoreHere is it's history:

Opened in 1912, Creedmoor State Hospital was initially the farm colony of Brooklyn State Hospital (now Kingsboro) with 32 patients who worked the farmland as part of their treatment. Like many other similar institutions, over the first half of the 20th century the population at Creedmoor rapidly expanded before deinstitutionalization occurred beginning in the 1950s, at which point the hospital shrank from 8,000 to 500 patients in the span of only four decades.

The 1970s were a rough time for the hospital, when crime infested the campus. Three rapes, 22 assaults, 52 fires, 130 burglaries, six suicides, a shooting, and a riot occurred within 20 months of each other. It was around this time that Building 25 was abandoned. Never sold off or demolished, it has been rotting on the hospital grounds since it was vacated in the early 1970s.

Besides the pigeons which have overtaken the top floor and the odd squatter, the building is empty of everything but detritus. Thick with grime, if it weren’t so inaccessible by public transportation this would likely be an even more popular spot for urban explorers, teenagers, and those others fascinated with forgotten things.

This is located across Union Turnpike from the active Creedmor campus, you'll see two smokestacks coming up from the property. The entrance is on Winchester Blvd and most of the campus is drivable. Some of the buildings are in active use, for offices and for residential rehabilitation.

The Best of Weird Florida

Just got back from Florida and look what I missed! Atlas Obscura lists all of the weird Florida sites. Gotta go back!

America's strange has sunk to the bottom and settled in these Floridian places.

Cities like Portland, Oakland, Austin and scores of other places urge their constituents to “keep the city weird.” In Florida there’s no need.  

Want to see a haunted doll on display? Florida. Vacation with the Amish? Florida. See a “city of live mermaids?” Florida, of course. Absurd crime, cryptids, theme parks, and a healthy dose of campy kitsch maintain the state’s title as the weirdest in the Union. 
Know of something unusual we’re missing in Florida? Add it to the Atlas!

Weeki Wachee 60th Anniversary, 2007.
Weeki Wachee, Florida

Weeki Wachee: City of Live Mermaids

Welcome to old Florida, where a 1940s mermaid show is still enchanting visitors.
The Manor
Kissimmee, Florida

Manor Professional Wrestling Dinner Theater

Would you like a sleeper hold with that?
Photo of Skunk Ape captured by Dave Shealy.
Ochopee, Florida

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

In the depths of the Florida Everglades, one man has dedicated his life to studying the elusive Skunk Ape.
Some visiting Amish at a nearby beach, approximately 7 miles away from Pinecraft. Picture is of either Siesta Key, Lido Beach, or Longboat Key.
Sarasota, Florida


This Florida resort community is where the Amish come to have fun in the sun.
Opa-locka City Hall.
Opa-locka, Florida

Opa-locka City Hall

America's only city hall with minarets took architectural cues from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
Reef rocker shredding in the Yellow Submarine.
Big Pine Key, Florida

Underwater Music Festival

For deep-sea divers and music lovers, the Florida Keys' Underwater Music Festival provides the best of both worlds.
Nostalgia overdose
Captiva, Florida

The Bubble Room

This kitsch eatery is chock-a-block with bric-a-brac.
Gibsonton, Florida. (Creative Commons)
Gibsonton, Florida

Gibsonton, Florida

The snowbirds here are circus sideshow performers.
New Year's Eve 2011
Key West, Florida

Key West High Heel Shoe Drop

Leave it to Key West to drop a real-live drag queen instead of a ball to mark the arrival of the New Year.
The two-headed gator statue.
Tampa, Florida

Two-Headed Gator of Seminole Heights

"Bite or Smite" became the unlikely mascot of a Tampa suburb.
The Clearwater Virgin before she was beheaded
Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Virgin Mary

This glass-stain Mary attracted thousands of pilgrims until her head was shattered by a vandal with a slingshot.
Haile Homestead
Gainesville, Florida

Historic Haile Homestead

Over 12,500 words are scrawled across each room of this historic plantation house and no one knows why.
Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida

Salvador Dalí Museum

Florida might be at its most surreal in this museum devoted to the famed Spanish artist.
Actors depicting Christ's crucifixion at the Holy Land Experience
Orlando, Florida

The Holy Land Experience

A mega theme park-wax museum mélange containing all things biblical.
Marco Island, Florida

Cape Romano Dome House

An abandoned vacation home spent a decade taking on legends. It's now taking on water.
Lake Helen, Florida


Town of spiritualists and mediums in Florida.
Key Biscayne, Florida

Neptune Memorial Reef

An underwater city for the dead.
Homestead, Florida

Ed Leedskalnin's Coral Castle

A mysterious castle built as a monument to lost love.
Splendid China, Orlando
Kissimmee, Florida

Splendid China

This $100 million theme park in Florida was been completely abandoned and is now mostly rubble.
Lake Wales, Florida

Spook Hill

Haunted Hill Supposedly Defies Gravity.
Enjoying the view at Jules'.
Key Largo, Florida

Underwater Hotel in Key Largo

Stay in a room with a view... of the bottom of the ocean.
The museum as viewed from the street.
Miami Beach, Florida

World Erotic Art Museum

12,000 sq. ft. museum tracing erotic art from antiquity to modern times.
Miami, Florida

Miami Circle

A perfect circle of twenty-four mysterious holes dates back to prehistoric time.
The old hanging tree, once outside, now built into the bar.
Key West, Florida

Captain Tony's Saloon

Florida's oldest bar was once a morgue, complete with a hanging tree and gravestones.
View of the Soutwest side of Monkey Island on Homosassa River.
Homosassa, Florida

Monkey Island of Homosassa

In Florida, these naughty monkeys live on their own mini-monkey Alcatraz.
view upwards from base of tree
Longwood, Florida

The Senator

3,500 year old tree was the second oldest in the United States, burned down by drug user who stated, "I can't believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus."
Koreshan State Park Yellow House
Estero, Florida

Koreshan State Historic Site

Former utopian colony based on the belief that the universe exists in a hollow sphere.
The "whale garage"
Monticello, Florida

Nautilus Foundation

The ruins of a creative scholar's fantastical unfinished sanctuary act as his massive gravestone.
9/11 Whale Sculptures
Tallahassee, Florida

9/11 Whale Sculptures

One man's grief over national tragedy has manifested in a pod of homemade whales on his front lawn.
The monument
Tampa, Florida

Gravity Research Foundation Monument

A tribute to a future time when gravity is conquered.
Futuro House Pensacola
Pensacola Beach, Florida

Pensacola Futuro House

Pensacola's UFO home has withstood many hurricanes—just as the experimental 1960s design intended.
The entrance to the park
Tampa, Florida

Parque Amigos de Jose Marti

A tiny, unassuming park in Tampa that belongs to the Republic of Cuba.
The Last Resort Bar.
Port Orange, Florida

The Last Resort Bar

Where serial killer Aileen Wuornos drank her last beer.
New Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, a/k/a the Airport cemetery
Tallahassee, Florida

Airport Cemetery

The Tallahassee Airport serves over half a million passengers a year and is home to some permanent residents too.
Wolf's Museum of Mystery
St. Augustine, Florida

Wolf's Museum of Mystery

This curio museum seems like the type of place you might find a mogwai or a monkey's paw.
Safety Harbor, Florida


This home is decked out like a psychedelic explosion of colors and bowling balls.
A high dynamic range (HDR) image of the building.
South Bay, Florida


One of many gator theme parks, abandoned in the sugar fields of South Florida.
The store front
Tampa, Florida

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co.

An oddities shop that dabbles in the deathly and beautiful.
The SL-3 Rocket before it was covered.
Homestead, Florida

Aerojet Dade Rocket Facility

When this test site was abandoned they didn't even bother taking their rocket with them.
The proud legacy of Don Juan Ponce de Leon.
St. Augustine, Florida

The Fountain of Youth

A tribute to Ponce de Leon's supposed quest for eternal youth.
Robert the Doll
Key West, Florida

Robert the Doll

This legendary "evil" doll has been haunting the citizens of Key West for over 100 years



The Doll House of Toronto

Bertmount-dolls-houseToronto is a wonderful city on its own but now that I have discovered the Doll Garden house in Leslieville, it will require another trip to the city very soon.

As reported in Atlas Obscura, Leslieville is a quiet neighborhood along Lake Ontario, east of Old Toronto. It used to be more industrial, the streets lined with single-family homes that once housed the local labor force. Most of them have small, well-tended gardens in front, but there is one particular garden that’s tended a little differently than the others.

Instead of boxwood, hydrangeas and day lilies, the gardener responsible for 37 Bertmount Avenue prefers to plant Superheros, Hello Kitties, mermaids and troll dolls.

It’s known as the Doll House, and owner Shirley Sumaiser has been collecting her stuffed and plastic critters for over twenty years, using them to fill up her little plot of Leslieville.

The Doll House is not just dolls—there are toys, stuffed animals, plaques, and signs, some hung from the fence, some mounted on wooden stakes, and some lining the porch and eaves. Together they create a landscape cacophony, the collection often redone to suit a holiday, or a set of new or seasonal additions. The result is an ever-changing garden of tchotchkes that attracts Toronto tourists and shutterbugs alike.

Sad News - The End of Detroit's Heidelberg Project

I am very sad to announce that The Heidelberg Project - Detroit's amazing outdoor street art installation project - is closing down. I am especially upset because I have never seen it in person, though greatly admired it from afar.I want to thank artist Tyree Guyton for his beautiful and astounding efforts at making a street a center of innovative art. It will not be forgotten.

Here are some books on the project -

Connecting the Dots: Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project (Painted Turtle)

The Heidelberg Project: A Street of Dreams

In the Shadow of an Artist: The Heidelberg Project

Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art

Here is the full story as reported in Hyperallergic:

End of the Line for Detroit’s Iconic Outdoor Art Installation, the Heidelberg Project

The "Party Animal House" which burned down in 2012.

The Heidelberg Project’s “Party Animal House,” which burned down in 2012 (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

DETROIT — It is difficult for a young artist to think about her legacy. When you’re just starting out, piecing together a voice, a practice, and some means of support is a full-time hustle; having time to think about the bigger picture is a luxury afforded to few. Legacy is the concern of the older artist, and as longtime stalwart of the Detroit public installation art movement, Tyree Guyton, who turned 60 years old this year, implied that he’s gearing up for the future when he announced last week that he would be taking down his iconic work, the Heidelberg Project, which has been 30 years in the making.

Working on his own and in a largely unauthorized fashion for decades, Guyton transformed Heidelberg Street, host to his childhood home, into a sprawling surrealist landscape, adorned with his paintings and sculptures of found objects and debris collected from around the city. While the city has in the past demolished his work, having bulldozed the unsanctioned installation in 1991 and again in 1999, in more recent years it has received international recognition, transforming into a nonprofit that has seen hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The "Obstruction of Justice" House, also a casualty to the string of arsons targeting the Heidelberg Project.

The “Obstruction of Justice” House, also a casualty to the string of arsons targeting the Heidelberg Project.

But it’s the beginning of the end, as Guyton unveiled somewhat opaque plans to “dismantle” the Heidelberg Project over the course of the next two years. While the artist and his organization are quick to stress that some version of the project will remain within the original footprint, there are plans to deconstruct the work, piece by piece, with some of it going to museums, and other parts slated for an as-yet amorphous reconfiguration into something more community-based and less dependent on the animating spirit of Guyton himself. More often than not the artist has been found working on the grounds or posted up in the on-site Information Booth, receiving an international coterie of visitors, asking them to sign the guest book, and expounding on his vision and his process to all who ask.

The information booth, where visitors to the Heidelberg Project can often find the artist.

The information booth, where visitors to the Heidelberg Project can often find the artist.

Love it or hate it, the sheer scope of the Heidelberg Project and the attendant effort to build and maintain it is astonishing.

A detail of Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project

In many ways, it’s astonishing that Guyton has kept the project going this long. First off, there’s the sweat equity invested in the expansive installation, which includes abandoned houses covered in stuffed animals, painted polka dots, toys, and vinyl records; shopping carts lofted impossibly high into trees; scrap metal arranged in mini-Stonehenge formulations, a buried Jeep, and innumerable paintings on plywood featuring Guyton’s recurring subjects: taxis, clocks, faces, and the word GOD — among other things. Then there’ve been the multiple stumbling blocks, including pushback from the city and, more recently, a string of 12 unsolved arsons that targeted and destroyed many of the project’s most iconic structures, including the “Party Animal House,” the “Taxi House,” and the toy-covered “Obstruction of Justice House.” But it’s Guyton’s day-in, day-out commitment to creation and maintenance that amounts to a kind of art-farming. Guyton has demonstrated the true meaning of creating his life’s work.

Recurring themes proliferate throughout the houses and sculptures, including phones, shoes, television sets, and other pieces reflective of discarded material culture.

Recurring themes proliferate throughout the houses and sculptures, including phones, shoes, television sets, and other pieces reflective of discarded material culture.

Guyton employs found materials gathered from all over the city in his multi-media sculptures and installations.

Guyton employs found materials gathered from all over the city in his multi-media sculptures and installations.

Few people have the courage to look at all that sweat equity and decide that all good things must come to an end. While it may seem paradoxical for Guyton to consciously dismantle the very thing he has worked so hard to create, there is something to be said for arriving at closure on your terms. Whether Detroit is ready to see the end of a project that has been a part of the landscape for so many years is a different matter entirely, but with respect to Guyton himself — an artist who has spent his life making unexpected moves with little need to justify them to others — this latest decision is true to form. And in the spirit of Detroit, whose city motto translates from Latin as “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes,” maybe some new inspiration is preparing to emerge from the Heidelberg wellspring.

How Tyree Guyton gets it done.

How Tyree Guyton gets it done.

Tyree Guyton is celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Heidelberg Project with a career-spanning solo exhibition Face-ology which continues at Inner State Gallery (1410 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit) through early September.

Street Art in Gowanus, Brooklyn Marks Revolutionary War Mass Grave

Gowanus mass graveAccording to Altas Obscura, buried in a mass grave near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn are the remains of the 1st Maryland Regiment, a group of brave soldiers that changed the course of the Revolutionary War. This place is marked with a beautiful street art mural.

The Maryland Regiment was integral to the Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776. Vastly outnumbered against a force of 2,000 British, "The Maryland 400" as they became known bravely charged against the enemy, holed up in the Old Stone House, six times so that the rest of Washington's army would have time to escape. Only 10 returned to American lines, and 256 were dead, with another 100 either injured or taken prisoner. 

The Maryland soldiers killed in the struggle were interred in a field in six trenches, an area that eventually became Third Avenue in Gowanus. Their grave was originally marked with a memorial that stated: "Burial place of ye 256 Maryland soldiers who fell in ye combat at ye Cortelyou House on ye 27th day of August 1776." Yet as the years went by, their story and burial place faded from public memory. 

However, not everyone has forgotten the Maryland Regiment, and their grave has been rediscovered where it remains in a fenced-off lot at the intersection of Third avenue and 8th Street in Brooklyn. Despite previous plans for a memorial park, merely a simple placard on the adjacent American Legion building indicates the site from the street.

Psychedelic Houses And Other Amazing Things

Flavorwire just ran a series on amazingly beautifully decorated houses. No - not Architecural Digest type of decorated. I'm taking graffiti and yarn bombing decorated. Feast your eyes and check out more with this link.


Artist Kat O’ Sullivan creates upcycled sweaters and other clothing, but her masterpiece is the boldly colored makeover she gave her 1840 upstate New York abode. Psychedelic house













Or check out Batman’s Alley in Sao Paulo, Brazil is a graffiti artist’s dream, the drab structures transformed into a rainbow wonderland.

Batman_s-alley-sao-paulo1 Batman_s-alley-sao-paulo1
















Or how about a larger-than-life crocheted alligator playground in Brazil, created by Brooklyn-based artist Olek — who once crocheted a New York City apartment.

Olek gator1