bright cobalt-blue building on the corner of Orchard Street and Delancey. The vivid splash of color was a collaboration between the skate shop RipNDip and Wallplay, a creative agency that brings together artists and brands to develop site-specific installations. RipNDip’s pop-up skate shop was just one in a long series of projects that took over the space at 118 Orchard Street (remember Tim & Eric’s cult ceremony?). But now, with the building set to be demolished, Wallplay is having one last hurrah and inviting everyone to trash the place.If you’ve been hanging around the Lower East Side lately, you may have been temporarily blinded by a
Laura O’Reilly, founder and CEO of Wallplay, said the building will soon become “a massive tag wall.” The idea for the project, fittingly entitled “Exquisite Corpse,” came from graffiti artists Mint & Serf, who plan to start work on the façade on June 23. On July 1 there’ll be a “big farewell party where everyone is going to trash the space collectively,” O’Reilly said. That day, the building will be accessible to the general public from 11am to 9pm. At the end of the process, which will be documented with GoPros, participants will have covered “every surface area of the inside space and reachable outside space, creating a massive installation piece,” O’Reilly said. The exterior of the exquisite corpse will remain on view until the building is demolished.
“We’re really going to miss it,” O’Reilly said of the corner building, which previously housed Moscot Eyewear before it moved across the street. But Wallplay isn’t leaving, they’re just moving uptown to expand their Chelsea offices, as well as focusing more on their internet presence. They’ll continue to maintain a downtown location at 312 Bowery (next to The Hole). That concept shop is currently hosting an exhibit by the founders of the popular Instagram account @vibes called “The Absent Generation.” Vibes covered all the walls of the space in crumpled reflective material in order to create a type of “selfie cave” in which visitors could take disformed pictures of themselves.
“It’s more of a commentary on selfie culture,” O’Reilly said about the installation, which opened on June 15 and will probably stay up till July 1. “It’s this physical, immersive installation that allows people to question this need to be liked and seen.”
Wallplay launched three years ago; in addition to pop-ups of all kinds, it specializes in site-specific, artist-created billboards. “We started with the mission of having an art model sponsored by brands, with the belief that people are sick of traditional advertisements,” she explained. The Orchard Street location routinely drew lines for events like The 1975’s pop-up in February, but will now be replaced by a 12-story tower.
For a chance to finally relive your pent-up fantasy of being a bad-ass graffiti artist (but you know, without getting into any actual trouble), head down there one last time and tag away to your heart’s content as you repress the growing inevitability of the marriage of art and commercialism and the inescapable transience of it all.