street art financial district

Guerrilla street art spotted in the Financial District

A reader tipped us off to this subversive bit of street art spotted in the Financial District last night. Located at Commerce Court, the quirky intervention is appended to Derrick Stephan Hudson's bronze sculpture Temba, Mother of Elephants, which was installed in the courtyard in 2002.

street art financial district

The update is small but telling. Two ball and chains adorned with gold dollar signs are affixed to the young elephants, which serves as both a reminder of the area's fundamental purpose -- this is the Financial District, after all -- and as a subtle critique of this particular brand of public art.

street art financial district

Sculptures installed at semi-public spaces in and around King and Bay aren't exactly art for art's sake. While all significant artwork is tied up in the exchange economy, that which is found in the courtyard or the lobby of a bank is rather different from what is hung on a collector's wall. It's purpose is, often, to confer status upon the institutions that rise above it.

Lest we forget that, there are anonymous artists out there all too happy to provide a reminder. A brief reminder, that is. As of 9:30am, the little elephants had been freed of their shackles.


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