Monday, February 22, 2010

Revs/Cost Vanishing

From the watchful eye of reader Steven Benga comes the bad news we knew was coming. The folks behind the New High Line are removing the Revs/Cost graffiti from the next extension of the luxury park.

We saw the hardhats contemplating this controversial removal back in December. On Saturday the vanishing began. Here is a photographic time-line of the erasure. Benga sent in this before and after:



On the left, the graffiti as it was. On the right, the R and the C have been covered with a yellow chemical.

By Sunday afternoon, the wall looked like this:



In this photo you can see the DEAL tag, along with the ghost-word AND, to the left of REVS/COST have been almost completely faded. Beneath REVS/COST, the same yellow chemical has been applied.

In this close-up, it is clear that the R and C have faded to the point where the gaps between the bricks are showing through. The S and T have also been treated with vanishing solution. A worker takes his roller to the V.



Work continued through Sunday night, under cover of darkness, and by this morning, this is what's left:


all photos: Steven Benga

In 1994, Revs and Cost talked to ArtForum about their work. It was a very different time in New York City:

REVS: We think art should be dangerous. Everybody's into safe art, doing safe things in their studio. We're bringing danger back into it. It's got to be on the edge, where it's not allowed.

COST: We live on the edge and that's what makes it good.

REVS: It's got to be real crude. Crude.

COST: Rude and shit. Noisier.


Today, the noise we have is the din of pub-crawlers and tourists, of revelers whooping off the rooftops of luxury hotels. The edge has been erased. The crudeness has been sanded smooth. And danger is a forgotten desire.

To those who prefer to walk the safe path, the next length of the High Line is being prepared just for you.

More:
Revs/Cost 12/09
Roxy Graffiti
New High Line

29 comments:

Grand St. said...

The answer, of course, is to tag the High Line
(under cover of night and all that).

Anonymous said...

Umm okay! Revs and Cost were real badasses. Danger! Risking arrest! Or did they mean falling off the step ladder? What brave souls. The Mandelas of our generation, surely.

I will miss their tags, to be sure, because I am also nostalgic for my youth, and removing them seems to accomplish nothing, but to approvingly quote that self-promoting PR nonsense is a bit much, imho.

The New York Experience said...

This should be illegal! Revs and Cost were as much a part of my childhood as Tom and Jerry.

The Takeout Wench. said...

I can't wait to see what the graf artists will be doing in retaliation now.

Anonymous said...

Nothing more annoying and ugly and idiotic than the ubiquitous REVS COST tags. Get a life. Perhaps donate your energy to some other more worthwhile endeavor?

Barbara Hanson said...

Utterly boring, self-promoting,and, worst of all, humorless, grafitti.

a said...

I hope this isn't an example of their best work...

Anonymous said...

The Takeout Wench: The graff writers aren't going to do a damn thing.

The generation of dudes who bombed NYC up til the late 90s are either approaching or passed the age of 40 and won't/can't take the risks anymore. They've got families and/or back problems.

And the new generation don't know anything about taking risks or being "rebellious," as they prefer to do their throw-ups in "safe" out of the way places like Bushwick.

And "Street Artists" don't have balls.

Graffiti and New York City have been dead for some time.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Hanson: Humorless and boring. Perhaps, but it doesn't sound like you understand the history or relevance of graffiti. (I'd take a quick guess and say that you actually don't even care.) BUT if you are going to actually make a comment and contribute to a conversation, it helps to be informed rather than simply opinionated. So to you I'd like to inform that the entire point and existance for graffiti is to be "self-promoting."

If you CARE to understand, please do some research into the history of NYC graf and you would at least know why graffiti exists, not simply that you don't like it.

tjscouten said...

They have buffed it to match the old building's advertisement, In a sense it say's to the world "this used to be active, now its history". That is under the assumption that they are finished buffing it.

JackS said...

I said this previously, and I will say it here. You shouldn't mourn REV/COST going away. But remember how long it was up. Graffiti is ultimately ephemeral and anyone who really pays attention to this stuff knows that graffiti getting tagged over and buffed over is a part of the deal.

The neighborhood has changed so much the graff has little meaning in this era. So don't go nuts over this. I'm sore REV/COST aren't.

Anonymous said...

"Utterly Boring and Self promoting". I love when people try to speak on things they don't know anything about. Boring...hardly. Self-Promoting..of-course, what else do you think people did it for? Humorless? What's funny is what this city has turned into. And then you have the nerve to co-opt the word grafitti in your sentence like you even knew what the word meant. Is that you Ed?

The Takeout Wench. said...

That's a fair point, Anon. It's too bad people don't seem to have balls anymore. If only those outer borough graf artists would start painting over condos and American Apparels in Manhattan...

I personally would rather see graffiti than endless billboards and advertisements. They're much more of an eyesore than dumb tags, in my opinion. And they're like shit in comparison to the truly amazing art that exists on some walls right now.

Jeremiah Moss said...

interesting idea, tjscouten, that it's been faded to blend with the rest of the wall, and is not being completely removed.

if so, that would be a co-opting of the graffiti, a taming of it, a way of turning something once "outsider" into aesthetically acceptable "shabby chic."

this might be worse than removal.

Genghis aka Geng-Grizzly said...

Jeremiah,

Just letting you know I wrote up a post heavily based on your coverage (along with Steve's flicks) of this defacement by the city (yeah I said it).

And some of these comments really blow my f'ing mind. It's all good, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion...but I'd much rather non-profit self-promotion than overly aggressive corporate billboarding.

Just don't complain when a city that was once vibrant with raw color is fully transformed into a LCD screen nightmare. It won't be as cool as Blade Runner, that's for sure.

-Geng
PurpleTapePedigree dot blogspot dot com

Jeremiah Moss said...

nice write-up, thanks Genghis. and, you know, those LCD screens are already on the sides of city buses.

r said...

while banksy and shepard fairy are on their way to becoming millionaires, if not alraedy there, revz seems to be almost unknown. what these guys did, especially revz (not knocking cost) was almost superhuman. household names pale in comparison. he may never get his in his lifetime, party by his own hand, but revz will go down in history as one of the greatest artists of the last hundred years.

real ny r.i.p.
lower manhattan and bk waterfront anyway...
just saying the hood hasnt changed behind closed doors much.

Cannabista said...

Sad.

Anonymous said...

I had almost tricked myself into believing that they were going to leave this one alone until I passed by 23rd st. earlier today and saw this... Cant even put into words what a loss it is.

HOWEVER, I must say that I am intrigued by the idea of the piece being merely ghosted out as opposed to entirely removed, as I feel that such a sight would really evoke the feeling of a bygone era in NYC (at least for those tuned into graffiti). I am absolutely NOT going to get my hopes up for that kind of sentimentality on behalf of the "New Highline" planners, though, as I am sure REVS and COST will be gone with the snow covering the highline... its like murder.
-Phil

Alan W. Moore said...

yes, i bet you are right -- the mildly pleasant "ghosting" will continue to erasure... Finally, it's a question of "turf": commercial messages, even those of the distant past, have precedence over the presumptuous individualism of any artist... A very recent instance is the contest between the artists of the "New York Street Art Takeover 2009" and the illegal bill posters -- the artists lost, within 24 hours.

Money Talk$ said...

They should put a gigantic "Jersey Shore Unleashed" vinyl ad in place of the wall so as to represent the quality and depth of present popular culture.

As long as they're paying for it, who's it bothering?

zipperstyles said...

Graf never lasts, but it's still sad to see the soul of the streets get buffed in the interest of a condo-zombie park.

Thank you for documenting this.

Anonymous said...

lot of of respect for ya, money talk$. At least your stuff is still up.

Anonymous said...

We will probably never see another like cost and revs. A sad state of affairs we live in, but like all good things... they come to an end. Hopefully it will inspire, but that is unlikely. Maybe there is an app for this...
Peace yall. -E.G.

dubstep said...

I hope this isn't an example of their best work...

WeNTonE CDS. ETS said...

I love it!!! REVS and COST still pissing off the drones that parade NYC streets on the way to work and back never appreciating the beauty of TRUE art, which does not have to be paid for to be enjoyed...

the 80's and early 90's will never return...but there is more graff out there lately... and i hope it continues to spread. I used to write and think that the best graff is the most colorful or extravigant... but it's not...the best graff is the kind that is burned into your mind forever because they represent more that a word on a wall...they represent a memory or a feeling of how life used to be as a kid growing up during that period... we didn't play PS3 and xbox... the kids of then were out playing sports them selves or bombing...living life... real life with real adventure...not simulated "safe" adventure that kids are expossed to now...at home in thier room... surfing the web or playing some BS video game for hours...but will never ever be expossed to the feeling of a movement or a generational signature that graff represents. what will today's kid rememeber or get nestolgic about... thier "Facebook days"... no to me graff represents everything that was my youth..it wasn't my only hobby and i was no where near as good as alot of writters but it was a movement that will forever resinate in my soul and to see them buff these great artists is sad...but it does make you appreciate what is still out there from those days... boring? never... mutha fucking thrilling!!! hell yea

bloo said...

Ahh, there was a simple, utilitarian attraction about Revs graffiti. He flaunted power in the face of a fascist republican regime that has marred NYC for almost two decades.

Anonymous said...

"I hope this isn't an example of their best work... "

well, yes and no. to anyone around back then, Cost/Revs fliers were everywhere and you knew what it was about. To see that huge-ass throw up on grand was an extension of a much larger, city-wide picture of their work. to judge just that piece as singular is to miss the entire concept. it really is too bad that this type of stuff isn't happening anymore: we have artists doing beautiful murals to be sure... but it's approved by the shop owner first, and worse, the walls are literally removed to be sold in galleries (thanks Banksy!). the edge of Costs/Revs is long gone. Maybe it'll be back someday?

laura said...

ok, explain this. they ARE keeping the old signage- right? then they faded the graffiti to blend in? its a bit hard to understand. btw, i LIKE the newer version. if they keep the graf artist as well, its the best of both worlds. i like the idea of the highline, its beautiful. the skyscraper hotels are aweful! NYC is becoming just a shop/party place.