by Ariston Anderson
Finding it difficult to locate a strip of space free from any advertising, Jordan Seiler of Public Ad Campaign did some research and found many of the billboards around New York City are illegal. To propose an alternate use of these city spaces, Seiler organized the New York Street Advertising Takeover, a network of citizens set out to transform the spaces into their own works of art.
NYSAT went to work throughout the city last Saturday, 25 April 2009, whitewashing the unlicensed NPA billboards marked on a map created by Seiler. Over 80 artists joined in, converting 126 billboards in varying sizes into public art. Our favorite is Ji Lee's—the thinker behind the bubble project—giant "delete" button, an option we wish we could have for the ugly ads that bombard us daily.
Four people (two white-washers, one artist and one videographer) were arrested throughout the guerrilla transformation, but the group is planning on fighting the charges. Unfortunately while most of the pieces have already been appropriated by NPA—who profit enormously from their unlawful billboards—it was a huge accomplishment to complete such an ambitious project for one day across Lower Manhattan. And at this point, because the billboards aren't registered, they're still anyone's game.
View more images of the takeover on Flickr.