The History of the Bowery Mural: From Keith Haring to Crash


For nearly four decades, the wall on the northwest corner of Houston and Bowery in New York City has served as an irresistible blank canvas. From illegal taggings to large-scale commissioned pieces, artists have been drawn to the space, which began its life as a handball court, and its built-in audience of city dwellers and tourists alike who pass by it each day and night.
The wall is part of a building that is owned by the real estate development company Goldman Properties. In 2008, the company began using the space to host a revolving art project, first in partnership with Jeffrey Deitch and then with The Hole Gallery. Over the course of five years, a long list of renowned artists have created murals on the wall. With the newest one going up in March, it seemed fitting to take a look back.