Last fall, right after Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York, observant Manhattanites may have noticed that odd posters had appeared along some of their city’s streets. Pieces of striped paper, with the stripes precisely spaced, had been posted to walls and billboards around downtown without any explanation. There was no brand name—no text of any kind. Just stripes. One with bright aquamarine and white stripes popped up about a block from this writer’s apartment, on Avenue A near East 14th Street. About a week later, they were gone.
Earlier this week, the striped posters began popping up again. They are the work of 74-year-old French artist Daniel Buren—he calls them affichages sauvages (savage postings)—and he’s been installing them around various cities for nearly five decades. The stripes are always the same size, exactly 8.7 centimeters across. The posters in November were timed to coincide with a two-gallery show at Bortolami and Petzel in Chelsea, which was scuttled by Sandy. Two months later, that show is finally coming to fruition.