This giant mural is the work of FAILE, a Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. It covers an entire side wall of a building that happens to be The Record Plant, a legendary recording studio on 44th St. in Hell’s Kitchen, active from the late sixties until 1987, when it closed.
Imagine bumping into Aretha Franklin, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Hendrix, John Lennon, Cyndi Lauper, among others – they all recorded here; these are but a few of the names that emerged when I looked up the address.
Today, it is a high-tech business centre and I am desperate for a time-machine.
This magnificent gilded bronze relief graces the entrance of La Maison Française, part of the Rockefeller Center. A token of friendship between France and the United States, it depicts the two Cities – Paris and New York – reaching towards each other, showered with the gifts brought by the Three Graces, underneath.
According to Greek Mythology, the Three Graces were daughters of Zeus and the Oceanid (daughter of the Ocean) Eurynome. They were:
For the purposes of said friendship they became Poésie, Beauté & Elégance, an unwittingly apt transformation judging by their strategic location, watching over Saks Fifth Avenue right across the street.
Sculpture by Alfred Janniot, ca. 1934 (more reading here & here)
Pen, brush mouth atomiser and ink on paper
On 14 January 1983, 26-year old film editor Stephen Waldorf was mistakenly shot five times in the head and body by the Metropolitan Police in Earls Court, West London. The police thought he was an escaped prisoner, David Martin. In 1983 two officers were put on trial for attempted murder; they were both acquitted.
Margaret Thatcher. The Last Supposition, 1985
Leonardo da Vinci after Ralph Steadman has had a go at it.. New Statesman, 11 October 1985
Pen and ink on paper
Reagan’s Latest Close-Up New Statesman, 7 March 1980
Pen and Indian ink on paper
”The Peacekeepers Are Coming!
The Peacekeepers Are Coming!”
Pen, mouth atomiser and ink on paper
In October 1983 thousands of US troops and helicopter gunships invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada after a left-wing coup. Reagan’s incursion into Grenada, a Commonwealth country, was the only occasion on which Margaret Thatcher and the US president had a serious fallout.
Donald Trump – Porky Pie!!! New Statesman, 17 December 2015
Pen, brush, mouth atomiser, acrylic and gesso on paper
This porcine portrait of the real estate billionaire, reality TV game-show host and presidential hopeful [and, by now, President] Donald J. Trump accompanied an article by Laurie Penny, ”There is nothing funny about a Donald Trump rally”. ”By lying through his teeth”, she writes, ”he has managed to persuade thousands of people that he is the one truth-teller in American politics… Trump is selling fascism with a cartoon face”.
In November 2015, the mayor of Jersey City accused Trump of ”shameful politicizing” after the Republican made unsubstantiated claims that in 2001 the watched on TV ”thousands and thousands” of Arab Americans in New Jersey cheering the attacks on the World Trade Center.
”Porkie pie”, or ”porky”, is Cockney rhyming slang for ”lie”.
Wool and Water from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll,
MacGibbon & Kee, 1972
Pen, brush and ink, poster white on paper
”So the boat was left to drift down the stream as it would, till it glided gently in among the waving rushes. And then the little sleeves were carefully rolled up, and the little arms were plunged in elbow-deep, to get hold of the rushes a good long way down before breaking them off – and for a while Alice forgot all about the Sheep and the knitting, as she bent over the side of the boat, with just the ends of her tangled hair dipping into the water – while the bright eyes she caught at one bunch after another of the darling scented rushes.” Hogarth ’65: Marriage à la Mode: Breakfast Scene
Private Eye, 30 April 1965
Pen and ink, poster white on paper
Hogarth ’65: Taste in High Life 2
Private Eye, 6 April 1965
Pen and Indian ink and collage on paper
Weekend at West Wittering
‘Our visual reporter captures the dramatic moment when our gallant men in blue leap into the room and apprehend the miscreants’.
Private Eye, 21 July 1967
Pen and ink, poster white on paper
On 12 February 1967 police raided a house-party at Redlands, Keith Richard’s manor hourse at West Wittering, near Chichester, on a tip-off from the News of the World. The police took away some Ambre Solaire suntan lotion, a quantity of Earl Grey tea, joss sticks and a minute amount of cannabis resin. […] Also present at Steadman’s soirée is Jagger’s girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull (the girl in the fur rug). George Harrison and Pattie Boyd can be spied in the mirror: the West Sussex constabulary discreetly waited for the Beatle to leave before they pounced.
Breaking Bad: Walter White
Ink and acrylic on paper
The multi-award-winning, darkly comic TV drama ran on AMC for six seasons from 2008 to 2013. In 2014, Steadman was asked to create images of six main characters for the covers of limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbooks. […] Steadman says of Walt and the other characters, ”I printed out photographs of them and then watched all the series and some of it stayed in my head. Walt has a certain look to him. I realized that you can draw the top of his head with a compass. It’s perfect… Walt says he’s only doing it for his family, but one thing leads to another and he gets deeper and deeper and there’s no going back”.
It’s a Free Country (detail)
Private Eye No. 30, 18 February 1963
Pen and ink on pieces of paper
Bureau of Missing Persons
Rough drawing for cartoon published in Punch, 24 August 1960.
Pen and ink and blue pencil on paper