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"Art Everywhere" lives up to its name

Howard Halle

If you've been to Times Square in the last couple of days and looked up to wondered why paintings by Chuck Close, Willem De Kooning, Winslow Homer, Edward Hooper and Andy Warhol, among many others, are hanging high overhead, billboard style, look no further than "Art Everywhere," an ambitious public art project which is putting up enlarged reproductions of  American Art masterpieces in  50,000 outdoor locations across the country. The exhibition, billed as the largest of its kind, is a Yank offshoot of a similar show currently traveling through the United Kingdom (featuring works by Brit artists, notch); it just launched—where else?—at the Crossroads of the World.

The images come courtesy of the collections of five major U.S. museums (Art Institute of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art) with production costs and billboard locales provided by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. The selections in the show, which aims to tell the story of America through art, were made via an online poll in which people voted on their favorite works.

The crowdsourced curation yielded an initial list of 100 picks, which were winnowed down to 58. Art Everywhere is indeed everywhere, covering the five boroughs and beyond, appearing not only on the aforementioned billboards, but also on phone booths and also in movie theaters, health clubs and shopping malls. You find you're self wondering, Is it art? in some cases, but one thing it's not is the usual advertising. 


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