Olek’s Crochet Bombs: A Brief History of the Street Artist’s Work

Written by NYPress on . Posted in NY Press Exclusive.


Photo by PaulSteinJC, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Olek strikes again! Polish-born crochet artist added some color to Lower East Siders’ commute this morning by hanging two pairs of pink camouflage yarn-covered sneakers alongside the many old dangling from wires above the intersection of Broome and Eldridge Streets.

Olek’s knitted street art is a downtown staple by now. In the past two years, the New York transplant has fully adorned shopping carts to cars with her elaborate crocheted designs. The public displays often promote her larger scale gallery projects – such as her an entire apartment covered in crochet patterns, furniture, appliances and all  – but they have also occasionally become large scale projects of their own: in January 2011 she covered Wall Street’s massive Charging Bull sculpture, and in October 2011 she crochet-bombed the Astor Place Cube.

Olek in her crocheted apartment. Photo by HAPPYFAMOUSARTISTS, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

Olek’s street pieces usually don’t stick around for long, so take the time to enjoy them when they pop up. And don’t worry that you’ve missed your chance, because today’s colorful hanging shoes hint that another spree of public works might be on the way this summer to generate hype for her upcoming exhibit at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. Check out the chronological list below of where her work has appeared on the city’s streets and what it has covered in the past few years, and see if you can find out where and what she will strike next!

 

 

OLEK’S CROCHET BOMBS

2010

  • Intersection of Suffolk and Rivington Streets: bicycle, locked to a post –

    Photo by easy mo drew, courtesy of Flickr Commons

    Olek’s crochet street art debut! Later moved to the entrance of Essex Street Market, where the artist had an exhibit.

  • Elizabeth Street: car and another bicycle, both parked outside the Christopher Henry Gallery.

2011

  • Stanton Street: bicycle, across from Olek’s exhibit at the NY Studio Gallery.
  • 358 Broome Street: image on the side of the building of a girl holding balloons, a tribute to iconic street artist Bansky.
  • Northwest corner of Chrystie and Delancey Streets: another girl with balloons image on the side of the building.
  • Petrosino Square just off Lafayette Street: children’s tricycle locked to a post.
  • Tompkins Square Park: sculpture of a life-sized “walk” crosswalk signal

    Olek likes to cover people, too. Photo by See-ming Li, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

    man, created by Scott Taylor.

  • Astor Place: “The ,” the Astor Place Cube.
  • Rivington and Suffolk Streets: shopping cart, chained to scaffolding at the Clemente Soto Velez Center.
  • 147 Orchard Street: another shopping cart, chained to the Volang boutique.
  • East First Street and the Bowery: a third shopping cart, chained to a tree.

2012

  • Jersey Street between Lafayette and Crosby Streets: four strollers locked to street signs with the combined message “Love and stop lights can be cruel.”
  • Broome and Eldridge Streets: two pairs of shoes hanging from the wires over the intersection.

 

— Paul Bisceglio

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