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The Bowery Wall: A Birthday Ode to Martha Cooper

Many New York City residents are familiar with The Bowery Mural, a large graffiti canvas on the corner of Houston street and Bowery. Since 2008, seasoned graf artists have been executing their letter forms on the building’s facade, owned by the late Tony Goldman, a real estate mogul and appreciator of the ephemeral art form.

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This past Saturday saw the wall transformed into a birthday tribute to esteemed photojournalist, Martha Cooper who just turned 70. Through her documentation of the New York City graf scene during the 1970s and 1980s, Cooper helped to legitimize graffiti as a credible art form. Various artists – including How & Nosm, Freedom, Faust, Terror 161, Lady Pink and Bio – transformed the block letters with their unique styles, filling in the Marty nickname with a colorful composite of street art. The large characters were set off by a simple line of gratitude, “From the streets of the world, to the 2′s and 5′s, thanks to you our work survives.”

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The Birthday Billboard will soon be scribbled over when the next artist makes their on mark on this historic slab of concrete. But, like many graf murals, the gift and it’s sentiment will remain immortalized – captured and remembered through the discerning eye of Martha’s camera lense.

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