New Yorkers desperate for signs of normalcy can take heart in the way outdoor cafes are filling up. But one Chelsea landmark that has mysteriously failed to reopen — the Empire Diner on 10th Ave and 22nd St — has provided a high-profile opportunity for another Spring perennial to shoot through the pavement: the badass street artist.
Serge Miquel hangs his charcoal, pen and water color works on the windows of the still pandemically closed neighborhood institution. Here’s a video of the left-handed artist creating “picasso (work in progress)” in his apartment.
They’re hung frameless with blue masking tape, and some are intentionally upside-down. He chats with passersby and if anyone’s got a grand or so, he’ll sometimes sell a piece.
Miquel’s works tend to feature figures marked by a pronounced Priapus, but not in a juvenile way. He told the Fine Art Globe he likes to show by the Empire not just because it’s closed but because Eduardo Kobra’s masterpiece “Mt Rushmore of Modern Art” mural above it serves as inspiration. Referring to Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Miquel said, “They are like my parents.”
This is a phenomenally talented guy who plays piano like an angel and even sings chorale music at a shockingly high level. But on the first real Spring-like day of maybe the most anticipated Spring in history, sharing art outside with people who need to see it seems perfectly fitting.