Power box on fence at the western end of West 71st Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan
This is an unusual street in Manhattan, because it’s a dead end. I thought that, as a result, it wouldn’t have too much traffic, but it turned out to be very busy. I think the people who live on this street must need a lot of work done on their apartments, because there were a lot of handymen coming and going. The men teased me about calling the police, but none of them did.
As I had created a new art attraction in the city, I decided that my paintings should be available as postcards, just like real tourist attractions. I tried to get the postcard companies in the city to make cards for me for free, without much success. In the end, Postcard.com took pity on me and very kindly distributed five thousand free cards of the distance view of this painting through their cardholders in restaurants in May 2001. They made me pay for the production of the cards, but they gave me a good deal on the price because it was an art project.
I recently met someone who lived on this street, and I asked him if he had noticed any increase in traffic in May, but he said that he hadn’t. He had noticed the painting, though. So my attempt to turn the electrical box into a tourist attraction was obviously unsuccessful. The painting has been painted over now.
Because I liked the postcard idea so much, I eventually showed the project in specially made plexiglass postcard holders. Unfortunately, after making the cases, I could only afford to make postcards of six of the images, so I glued photographs to the back of the postcard holders for the rest to make it look as though there were cards of the entire project. I showed the postcards along with the map at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City during their open day for the Studio Program and at the Studio Program’s final show in the Clocktower. Because of the limited number of cards, people kept complaining that most of the cards had run out and asking me to refill the holders. I spent a lot of time explaining that I hadn’t been able to afford to print all of the images and that I’d faked the other cards.