WTF Is That? The Street Art of Dan Witz
by. Victor Ozols
July 15, 2010
Since 1999, artist Dan Witz has challenged people’s perceptions with street art and gallery work that always demands a second look. His latest campaign involves installing his Dark Doings imagery on highway interchanges that are regularly bottlenecked, giving thousands of commuters fleeting glimpses of his creations as they inch by at two miles per hour. At first glance, the three-dimensional windows and grates blend seamlessly into the urban landscape, but the eye is drawn to something in their dark depths. Is that a gimp wearing a rubber mask staring out at me? That’s not really a wild monkey behind that metal frame, is it? What the fuck is that thing? From this reaction comes the name of his provocative new series, WHAT THE %$#@? (WTF).
In one of the most arresting works, Suicide Girl Van Wyck Expressway (pictured), a pair of dangling feet appear behind a metal grate, suggesting the untimely demise of a young lady who somehow scurried behind the concrete wall and put an end to her suffering. Ignoring for the moment that the Van Wyck has made every New Yorker contemplate suicide at one point or another, its presence is sure to prompt more than a few calls to 911.
Here’s hoping that New York authorities have a bit more appreciation for outsider art than Boston cops, who notoriously freaked the fuck out in 2007 over what they thought were bombs planted randomly throughout the city, but turned out to be LED advertisements for Aqua Teen Hunger Force.