103 Franklin Street between Church Street and West Broadway, TriBeCa, Manhattan

January 2001

This was the second time that I made a painting based on Caspar David Friedrich’s painting of an oak tree. The first version in SoHo got covered by graffiti the day after I finished it, which made me sad because I had liked it a lot. Unfortunately, I never liked this second version as much. Maybe because it had lost the charm of novelty. Or maybe the lost first version was just better.

I made this painting here because Karen Jones had asked me to be in a show about public art called “In/Site/Out” at Apex Art in March 2001. This building was right around the corner from Apex Art. Because Apex was worried about the illegal nature of my project, they made me sign a form stating that they in no way endorsed or promoted or were liable for anything that I did. By the time that the show opened, I had made forty paintings, and I decided to stop. The project was getting written about more and more, and I was worried that it would come to the attention of the authorities. So I never made it to my goal of doing one hundred paintings. At Apex, I showed snapshots of the paintings, which I glued to the wall. Apex was very concerned about the glue sticking to the walls, so I used a really weak kind of glue. As a result, the photographs kept on falling off the wall and having to be stuck back on again.

While I was painting here, a man came up to me and asked me to sign his portfolio. He thought that my signature might be valuable someday. His portfolio was made out of plastic, so my signature wouldn’t stick. I ended up signing his subway map in oils instead. This building finally got renovated and the painting is gone now.