I’d not meant to walk down 52nd Street, but I’m pretty happy I did. For one, I got to find out first hand what kind of food “The Halal Guys” at the corner of 6th Avenue serve up. I can understand why this has become such a hit in recent years. As I dug into their famous Basmati and lamb, I gazed at Venus de Milo remade into a 7 meter tall bronze statue. The two smaller companion pieces, all by Jim Dine, were a block down. These pieces by the famous pop artist have been a godsend to roosting pigeons for over 27 years.
Just before coming to this corner I’d walked past MoMA and found a few artists trying to sell their work on the pavement outside. I stopped to talk to Kurt, who said he is part of a collective called Fabrika Ouch. They seem to be doing roughly the same thing as Jim Dine or Roy Lichtenstein. Like them they are collecting pop-culture images, and reusing them in various ways.
I thought some of the pieces were quite witty. Kurt seemed happy to hear this, and tried to make a sale. He wasn’t very pushy about it, and after a couple of sentences told me that I could also order on the website. I assume that pop art has a market, and the pavement in front of MoMA gives a bit of visibility to their effort.
Nearby Nikita was arranging the display of his silk-screen work. Good workmanship, I noticed. Nikita hesitated a little when I asked whether I could photograph him with his work, but then agreed. My guess is that he sells to a market segment close to Kurt’s, and is a rival in the business sense. I can relate these youngsters to the artists who sit outside the galleries in Mumbai, hoping to make a sale. Life is tough for the little artists in Mumbai, and I imagine that it cannot be easier in New York.