Haring mural gives way to labyrinth


A window to a magical world is opening at the corner of East Houston St. and the Bowery: dreamlike, expansive, whimsical and — most important — yellow. Os Gemeos, the Brazilian graffiti muralists of world renown, have been invited by Goldman Properties and Deitch Projects to paint over the re-creation of Keith Haring’s 1982 mural that had adorned the wall since last fall. The new mural, which the artists say they will complete within a week or so, will grace the wall for a year.

Os Gemeos (“the twins” in Portuguese) are indeed identical twin brothers, Gustavo and Octavio Pandolfo, who hail from Sao Paulo. Their work, famous for its preponderance of yellow hues, blends the fantastical and the real, and many of their motifs and figures unsurprisingly originate in their dreams — which they say are sometimes, though not always, similar.

“We create our world in our minds,” said Octavio as the brothers took a break from their painting. “We live in this world, and all this” — he gestured to the mural-in-progress — “is a window to our world.”

In this world a multitude of humans and aquatic animals hover, float and sit upon a yellow-green sea that cascades beyond view. But the mural also incorporates “cotidiano,” or everyday, elements, images from life in New York, including an homage to the subway cars that were the medium of choice for graffiti artists during the 1970s and ’80s.

Octavio and Gustavo said they had dedicated their latest work to Dash Snow, the New York street artist who died Monday night of an overdose, and his daughter Secret Snow, and explained that their mural reflects their visions of “love, freedom and peace.”

What about the masked figure who seems tragically poised within the falls, they were asked.

“The waterfalls are not scary,” said Gustavo, “they’re beautiful.”

— Will Glovinsky