After MOMO

In 2006 the graffiti artist MOMO found a route through the streets of Manhattan that spells out his tag, and then bicycled its 8-mile length with a large bucket on the back full of orange paint dribbling onto the streets and sidewalks. The next morning residents of the East Village, Soho, and Greenwich Village awoke to a mystery, as only a tiny portion of the enormous tag could be seen from any vantage point on the street. The tag was at once visible seemingly everywhere, and yet invisible.

It wasn't until three years later that the mystery was resolved. Nick Divers, with the help of a friend who followed the drip and charted the 'MOMO' pattern on a map, figured out what the paint drip meant, and blogged about it. The New York Times picked up the story.

In the spring of 2012, intrigued by the ways the tag was gradually being erased by sidewalk replacement, graffiti´┐Żclean-up efforts, and the constant abrasions of a city teeming with pedestrians, I walked the route photographing details of the pavement. The 1,215 images show the drip variously in near-pristine condition, badly faded, or erased completely. From these I selected 230, printed each at 12" x 17", and installed them in a 30' x 50' 'MOMO' pattern on the floor of the Meeting Room at Judson Memorial Church in the fall of 2013.

The Meeting Room was an ideal exhibition space for this project, as details of the paint drip and pavement were viewable by walking through the installation on the main floor, but at the same time the entire installation was viewable from the balcony. MOMO's invisible tag was finally rendered visible.

The opening reception took place on Thursday September 12, 2013, and the installation was available for viewing on the Friday and the Saturday. On the Sunday morning the arriving congregants were invited each to collect one of the prints as a keepsake. The prints are marked with their respective geotags, and so the original drip segment can be located, should one wish to do so.


more thoughts on After MOMO

photos of the Judson installation

video of the Judson installation

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