The grandstand walls at Aqueduct Racetrack will serve as canvasses for 11 contemporary urban artists who will transform the first floor of New York City’s only racetrack into a horse racing-themed street art show for “Aqueduct Murals,” opening to the public on Saturday.
“New York City is arguably the mecca of street art, and ‘Aqueduct Murals’ integrates horse racing with a celebration of this vibrant, artistic community,” said Paul Kelleher of the New York Racing Association’s corporate development department. “Aqueduct is New York City’s racetrack and this exhibit will be emblematic of the track’s wonderful, multifaceted environment.”
The artists — hailing from Middle Village to South Africa — have been working at the track this week to pair the Big A’s walls with their unique visions of the “Sport of Kings.”
“Part of the beauty of street art is its impermanence,” said artist Joe Iurato, also the show’s curator. “A piece might last an hour or a few years, but every artist accepts that it won’t last forever. An exhibition like this, where works of this scale are housed indoors, isn’t something you see happen very often. In a sense, it preserves a small piece of New York culture that is otherwise constantly fleeting.”
One of the five local artists featured is Chris Stain, 41, who teaches art at PS 49 in Middle Village.
“When I was approached to do the show, it immediately reminded me of my grandfather,” he said. “I always heard him talk about the track and the horses, so there’s some sentimental value there for me and it’s a way to explore that more. What sets street art apart from other forms is there are no rules to it. With other forms of art you have to follow a certain structure. With street art you can freestyle and there aren’t any limitations.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public and will have its official opening this Saturday at the grandstand from noon to 4:30 p.m. Guests can meet the artists later that evening at a reception from 6 to 10 p.m.