artist – Ji Lee
This past Saturday over 120 illegal billboards were white-washed and covered with art in New York City by a team of volunteers and artists. The guerrilla operation was organized by The Public Ad Campaign over the past four months.
Barbara Celis writes:
As the main organizer explained to the artists who choose to get involved, the agency that owns the ‘attacked’ billboards operates on an illegal basis. “NPA outdoor operates over 500 street level billboards in NYC ranging in size from about 4′x4′ to 50′x12′. All of these advertising structures are illegal. I found this out by talking to the NYC Department of Buildings which has no permits for the NPA outdoor structures but has its hands full dealing with the rampant illegal billboard situation. I have also spoken directly with NPA outdoor employees who have told me that the NYPD will jail them from time to time at which point NPA lawyers bail them out and they are compensated 500 dollars for the nuisance of spending the night in jail”.
NPA Outdoor had teams putting their illegal advertising back up early Sunday morning. I personally spotted ads going up over artwork on 8th Avenue and 26th Street at 2 AM. Celis interviewed an artist at the afterparty who said, “Art is about the experience, about living the moment, and what we did was so fucking great for New York that even if they take down our pieces, we have learned that we can do it, and we will do it again. New yorkers had fun today in a very unusual way. It’s priceless!”