On Friday street artist Adam Neate placed 1000 works around, turning the entire city of london into his gallery. The team was to begin placing the works at dusk on Friday on the outskirts of the city and finish at dawn in the center of the city. (http://www.elmslesters.co.uk/index.php?pid=5&subid=28)
Also, there are 10,000 urban foxes prowling london. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/foxes-london.html)
This is my story of trying to find an Adam Neate painting in the small hours (as they say here) of friday night/saturday morning.
Verena and I head out at about 2:30 on Saturday morning – with the idea being if they stared in the outskirts and were planning on finishing in the city at dawn, this would be a good time to start the hunt. We leave the flat and walk towards Sheperd’s Bush thinking to check there, then grab a bus to Camden and then walk down to the city. This plan holds the added bonus of the chance to see a coked up Amy Winehouse stumbling around the streets of Camden.
We see nothing on the way to Sheperd’s bush until we are cutting across a park and … hey, what is that? Holy shit! It’s a fox just ambling through the park. Ironically there is a sign on the fence on the fence as we are leaving the park that says “No Dogs” Good for you Mr. Fox, good for you. Stick it to the man. Also in Sheperd’s Bush we see a bunch of people smoking outside the entrance for Ginglik. Why do I mention this here? Mostly because Ginglik is a members only bar that is inside an old public toilet under Shepherd’s Bush Green (http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/clubs/ginglik-review-9832.html) Brits are weird.
We decide to walk from Shepherd’s Bush to Notting Hill to catch a bus, we found nothing along the way and get on the bus, getting off to change at Notting Hill station only to find that the Notting Hill station bus stop is closed due to road work. SO we wander around thinking we would come across another bus to take us to Camden, but that doesn’ pan out so we head back towards Notting Hill and wait at a bus stop – which I will add had an arrival board announcing the times of approaching busses – only to find out from some locals who may or may not have been homeless that this particular stop is not in operation due to the roadwork. Then why the hell does the announcement board not say “This stop is Closed”!?!?!
So we backtrack to a functioning bus stop and hey, guess what? We get on the same bus that we were on before – like an hour previously. Well, not the the *same* bus, but the same bus number/line … you know what I mean. We decide that now it is too late to go to Camden and decide to go to Oxford Circus and head down to Trafalgar square.
We got to Oxford Circus and wandered down through Carnaby street to Soho and then to Piccadilly circus and then over to the square and we were 100% unsuccessful in finding any paintings. Then from Trafalgar Sq. to Embankment and got on a train home. We found no paintings, but we did see 3 foxes and some interesting things that unless you are willing to wandering around the city at 4 in the morning you will never see.
Things like Piccadilly Circus with 12 yes 12! people in it, a completely empty Carnaby Street, bands of drunken revelers still wandering home from a club, the way that the back alleys of Soho are filled with beer and liquor bottles waiting to be recycled. The astounding number of people that are still out… I mean yes, streets that are teeming with people during the day were empty, but everywhere we went, there were people… not many mind you, but still enough to let you know you were in a city.
Anyway, even though we did not find any paintings, I considered the night a smashing success.
A quick check of eBay Saturday afternoon reveals that indeed people found them and many – at least many of the eBay ones – were way out in the suburbs like Croydon. Really Croydon? I mean really? Oh and on a side note, shame on the people who found one and are putting it up on eBay. But since part of this exercise was to explore the line between art as an aesthetic and art as product, I guess you are all just part of the plan.