Art in Queens has had a slow and steady growth. A good example of this is MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) opening its PS1 branch in Long Island City in the summer of 2002. It seemed to spark a new energy in this area. Boutique type galleries with tremendous personalities and wide ranges of artwork being displayed continued to bud near the streets of MoMA QNS. In any of these galleries, one can find a range of art including sculptures created from discarded subway track metal to photo collages of the colorful neighborhood of Queens. Many pieces can also be found lining the sidewalks engaging and involving the viewer.
There have been a few institutions in Queens before MoMA was an idea. I remember taking the 7 trains in the early ‘90s and being welcomed with a view of colorful and elaborate graffiti art covering the warehouse named Phun Factory. This was the only legal spot in Queens for graffiti writers. Over time, the management changed to Meres who renamed this iconic location to Five Pointz, signifying the uniting of the five boroughs. This has grown farther than its initial goal and now attracts artists from across the globe including Germany, Australia, and Japan. Many well-known and respected artists from Queens such as Zim and Cortes have launched their careers’ and toured in other countries due to their active involvement in Five Pointz. I myself have painted at this “graffiti mecca” in the last few years and have a few new projects I would like to accomplish before its potential closing. Despite its local and international attention, real estate owners would like to change this authentic outdoor museum of graffiti into new high rises.