Lower East Side Murals Cause a Stir, and One Is Painted Over

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Carolina Falkholt, who painted two murals on the Lower East Side.

Credit
Claudia Fried

At the end of a year dominated by debates about gender relations and reports of sexual misconduct, a four-story mural of a penis was put up and removed within the span of a few days on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The painting appeared on the wall of a building on Broome Street, between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets, on Christmas Eve. By Wednesday afternoon, it was being painted over, and by Thursday it had completely disappeared.

An outcry by neighbors and elected officials led to the mural’s removal.

In a statement provided to Hyperallergic, the mural’s painter, Carolina Falkholt, explained her intention for the work: “Talking about these subjects in public space is a must for a healthy, nonviolent community/world. And the dialogue created around feminist public art pieces raises awareness. Art is one of the only places left where we can truly be free and discuss whatever difficult topics there are, since art has the ability to translate and transform language in any direction possible.”

Ms. Falkholt is responsible for another recently completed mural of genitalia in New York. On Sunday, she announced through her Instagram account that she had finished a four-story impressionistic depiction of a vagina on Pike Street, in the same neighborhood. As of Thursday, the vagina mural had not been removed.

Both murals were commissioned by the New Allen, an arts organization created by Franco Noriega and Milan Kelez to promote public art on the Lower East Side. Mr. Kelez, the director of the collective, said that the New Allen had permission to paint on the wall, but that the group didn’t know what the artist’s plans for the mural were.

“When we realized how graphic her design was, we thought it would be possible to perhaps make…

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