Ellen Harvey: New York Beautification Project
Between 1999 and 2001, small old-fashioned landscapes painstakingly executed in oil started to appear on graffiti sites across New York City. The paintings were the work of the well-known artist Ellen Harvey (born 1967). Documented here are both the works and Harvey’s diaristic accounts of painting illegally throughout the city. The narrative of her “beautification project” is both provocative and hilarious. It touches on such issues as who is allowed to make art in our society, and what distinguishes art from graffiti, while never losing touch with the frequently comical reality of creating a contemporary art project on the streets of New York.