Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Toynbee Tiles + House of Hades: Words on the Streets

Running into art on the streets is anything but rare these days. Looking down at an intersection in Manhattan and seeing an enigmatic message waiting for you, though, is another thing entirely. It makes for an exciting and perplexing experience, made even more poignant by the fact that usually the tiles are in the middle of the street. This limits how long the art can be enjoyed before certain threat of impending doom from oncoming taxis.

 

House of Hades tile, courtesy Bowery Boogie

House of Hades tile, courtesy Bowery Boogie

House of Hades seems to be affiliated, either directly or in homage to, a group of artists creating the Toynbee tiles, which have sprung up most noticeably in Philadelphia. The Toynbee tiles reference dead rising again on Jupiter, and have ties to esoteric writings by Arnold Toynbee on history and Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. I see more Space Oddity than Space Odyssey in House of Hades’ idiosyncratic and unexpected works, though: the messages are succinct and irreverent criticisms of mass media culture in the U.S.. The medium and the message are equally arresting in this case, as the tiles seem to be sunken into New York city streets in perpetuity. Even the gradual erosion of the surface of the tiles themselves add to their DIY aesthetic and their punk rock attitude.

Toynbee Tile, courtesy Boydom

Toynbee Tile, courtesy Boydom

Looking into House of Hades, the mystery surrounding the artists behind the tile pieces themselves is as exciting as running into these obscure messages on the streets. I’m looking forward to coming into contact with more in the future to add to my already mentally bookmarked stops in the Flatiron and on Park Ave just north of Grand Central. Know of any good House of Hades tile locations? Feel free to share your encounters.

 

 

Comments
One Response to “Toynbee Tiles + House of Hades: Words on the Streets”
  1. Benny says:

    Hiya on 29th st and 7thave. On south side of intersection. In street, more on the east side. I have a photo of you’d like

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