The Underbelly Project.
Probably one of the coolest idea I have seen in a while. A vast new exhibition space opened in New York City this summer, with a show 18 months in the making. On view are works by 103 street artists from around the world, mostly big murals painted directly onto the gallery’s walls.
In the weeks since, almost no one has seen the show. The gallery, whose existence has been a closely guarded secret, closed on the same night it opened.
Known to its creators and participating artists as the Underbelly Project, the space, where all the show’s artworks remain, defies every norm of the gallery scene. Collectors can’t buy the art. The public can’t see it. And the only people with a chance of stumbling across it are the urban explorers who prowl the city’s hidden infrastructure or employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
That’s because the exhibition has been mounted, illegally, in a long-abandoned subway station. The dank, cavernous hall feels a lot farther than it actually is from the bright white rooms of Chelsea’s gallery district. Which is more or less the point: This is an art exhibition that goes to extremes to avoid being part of the art world, and even the world in general.
At a risk of course not only is it illegal its super dangerous. “If you go in there and break your neck, nobody’s going to hear you scream,” he said — at least assuming there are no track workers around. “You’re just going to have to hope that someone is going to find you before you die.”
All in the name of ART!