Dumpster at 111 North 10th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

March 2000

After I made the first painting, I wanted to keep going. So I thought that I would do a hundred.

I decided to paint only on sites that already had graffiti and where I didn’t have permission, and that I would erase the paintings whenever anyone objected. And since most of the city’s official beautification projects involved planting flowers or trees or somehow bringing nature into the city, I decided to call my landscapes the New York Beautification Project, which was a very grand title for a project that consisted of myself and a paintbrush. It took me a while to get started, because I was nervous about my new career as a vandal and because other things kept getting in the way. I’m a bit of a procrastinator.

This painting was on a dumpster near my studio. While I was working, one of the women from the bakery upstairs came by and said, “It’s just like a postcard.” I think it was meant as a compliment, but I’m not sure. Oddly enough, the painting was based on a postcard of an American painting. I lost the postcard, so now I no longer know whose painting I copied. I think it may have been by Albert Bierstadt.

The dumpster is gone now. Our building replaced Waste Management with Bestway Carting for our trash needs.