Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

REVS Vs. Luxury Buildings

Along the High Line behind one of the newer luxury rental towers, Ten23, are two totally contrasting pieces, that face each other. On the side of a building on the West Side is a giant tag by mysterious graffiti artist REVS, likely left over from the late 1990s- when the High Line was just abandoned train tracks. Facing the piece is an installation not by Friends of the High Line but by Ten23 itself, called Urban Rattle by Charlie Hewitt, an easy piece of “public art” on the private grounds of the luxury building’s patio.


REVS is known as the graffiti artist that hasn’t cashed in, and has always claimed he doesn’t care if anyone sees his work (which is the opposite of the All-city vanity that surrounds tagging and graffiti). His hatred for the commercial art world was captured (albeit anonymously) in the film Bomb It, which featured cameos of him in a dark room speaking about his tagging and stickering of Manhattan.  His tumultuous graffiti “career” started in the late 1980s, and continued until it ended abruptly in 2000- when he was arrested,  set up by another writer. For four years he laid silent, then tags began appearing again, but now including bronze sculptures that are welded on buildings, likely with the owners’ permission.


Across from the symbol of aggressive graffiti is the bubbly, property friendly Hewitt piece, which is an edition that also happens to be for sale at Jim Kempner fine art. While REVS’ piece causes the viewer to think about the evolution of Manhattan, bringing images of the gritty 90s, and the time before the track was a beautiful park, Hewitt’s piece makes me feel…nothing. It looks like an appropriately safe piece of lawn decoration for a luxury building, a fitting mirror to the REVS piece to reflect what Manhattan is now, while looking at a remnant from an edgier Manhattan of the past.

Who: REVS and Charlie Hewitt

What: Aging tag and “Urban Rattle” Sculpture

Where: High Line Park, 10th avenue and 23rd Street

2 Responses to “REVS Vs. Luxury Buildings”
  1. The irony of this old REVS tag acorss fr this new luxury bldg on the HighLine is only furthered by its ugly sculpture

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