Construction is ugly. It just is. And it would have been easy for developers and the city to leave the megaproject at Pacific Park, formerly called Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, as just a huge expanse of green plywood fences. They have a lot on their plate, after all. Three hundred and three apartments on 32 stories don’t build themselves, and they have an additional 2,250 units planned for the next decade.
But in a plain effort at being seen as a little more city-friendly, Greenland Forest City Partners, the development group in charge of Pacific Park, has taken an artistic step. Under the direction of Artist in Chief Mike Perry, 10 artists have been selected to paint over 800 linear feet of murals.
“We wanted to do something visual, that gives a little visual reprieve to the neighborhood, that turns this giant ugly wall into something special,” Perry told the New York Times in a July interview about the Brooklyn site.
The ten featured artists are Hisham Akira Bharoocha, Morgan Blair, Josh Cochran, Thomas Colligan, Archie Lee Coates, Jennifer Maravillas, Eddie Perrote, Naomi Reis, Edward Ubiera, and Perry himself, of course.
Each mural is forty feet by ten inches, and each one, massive as they are, was painted in a single day during the third weekend of August. It’s easy to imagine these artists with their scaffolds and rollers and brushes, working diligently on a day that topped 90F.
Each mural is unique, but there were themes to the artist’s choices. Bharoocha, Ubiera, Perry, and Coates all painted abstract works with massive shapes in simple colors. Maravillas, Perrote, and Reis all had themes of plant life, huge leaves in unlikely colors. And Blair, Cochran, and Colligan each chose human themes—commuting, sports, and home, respectively.
Despite these common themes, each mural is unique and stands alone. They will remain in place until the megaproject’s completion, which currently has no projected end-date.