I find it striking that even here in the comparatively antiseptic New York City of the new millennium, you still see new contenders on the street art scene trying to leave their respective marks. Tags, stencils and sticker-campaigns bearing legends like "Jim Joe," "Neckface," "Celso," "Dickchicken," "MuffinMilk," "You Would" and that incredibly unimaginative "BNE WAS HERE" series have all tried their hand at covering as much wall-space as possible in the hopes of becoming the next Revs, Cost, Banksy or Shepard Fairey. I've always found it pretty fascinating, even if I barely know what half of them actually mean (if anything).
This summer, though, there's a new gunslinger on the streets whose calling card is one that leaves me scratching my head. For the last several weeks, I've noticed that someone has been covering a large amount of downtown walls, doors and other hard surfaces with the barely-legibly-scrawled message "Lou Reed" (see above) and I can't seem to get my brain around it. I mean, sure ... back in high school, I used to routinely scribble the names of my favorite bands on black boards, notebooks, lockers, etc. I must also confess to, in the mid-90', writing "C.$.C. R.I.P." on many an East Village bar bathroom wall out of mourning for the break-up of my beloved Cop Shoot Cop. But I don't necessarily think this tagger is writing "Lou Reed" on walls because he's a fan of Lou's. That just wouldn't make that much sense.
Obviously, Lou Reed himself is a storied New York City patriarch of effortless cool who almost single-handedly embodies everything that made the city a hip, happening town in the first place. Is that the overarching message here? A lament of the city's lost wellspring of bohemian insouciance? And why is the tag so artlessly slapdash? It always looks like it was hastily rendered like an afterthought. As a work of street art, it's hardly that much of a tribute to Mr. Reed.
Anyone have any thoughts? Maybe it's Lou himself ... trying to drum up some hype for his forthcoming and entirely perplexing collaboration with Metallica.
In any case, this mystery is just another excuse to post the endearingly Manhattan-centric (but otherwise strenuously embarrassing) video for Lou's "Original Wrapper." Enjoy