Artist transforms blank billboard into creative platform
Anyone headed north along the Grand Concourse at 149th St. expecting to see the familiar blank billboard above the Planet Wings on the corner is in for a surprise.
A new conceptual art piece, Static Fossil, by Brooklyn-based artist Kenneth Millington, has replaced the blankness of dead advertising space that long topped the two-story building on the northwest corner of 149th St.
Instead, a multi-colored asymmetrical maze resembling the static seen on balky old TV sets now squats atop the building, confronting drivers and pedestrians at one of the area’s busiest street corners.
Milligan partnered with 14×48, an arts collective that repurposes the city’s vacant billboards as public art space to convert the decaying relic into an active part of the streetscape.
The piece was painted and then photographically reproduced as a statement on the “analog-to-digital conversion of television signals,” the team said in a press release.
“Television static was caused by lightning, solar flares, signal leakage and notably from Cosmic Microwave Background Emission, residue of the Big Bang,” the artists explain, adding that “With the abundance of vacant billboards around New York City, these displays can be seen as turned-off television screens” that represent “the passing of an archaic technology.”