Mixed Greens is thrilled to present Steed Taylor’s Road Tattoo Study In Three Windows. Taylor’s “tattoos” are usually painted directly onto a roadway for purposes similar to that of a tattoo on skin—as a means of commemoration, communication, and ritual. For this window installation, Taylor moves beyond the road and explores situating a road tattoo on glass, still fulfilling the site-specific, community-based, public nature of his previous works while also announcing his upcoming collaboration with a charity assisting people living with AIDS.
Placed at locations of individual or community significance, road tattoos are composed of cultural designs previously appropriated to mark skin. Once the outline is drawn on the road with the help of local volunteers (road tattoos can exceed 200 feet in length), text of personal and community significance is painted within the design. For example, Messenger River in NYC’s Riverside Park integrated the names of NYC bicycle messengers killed while working, and Broken Chain in Mesa, AZ, included quotations from local women and children who were victims of domestic violence. When the text is complete, a nondenominational prayer commissioned for the piece is recited and the outline is painted in, concealing all words. Eventually environmental conditions dissolve the tattoos into the road.
Taylor’s tattoos are performative installations utilizing surprising spaces—well-trafficked streets, and now windows—to break the monotony of commuting and to inspire the cooperation of a community. For Road Tattoo Study In Three Windows, Taylor uses only a portion of a 200-foot road tattoo, yet he retains the unique symbolism and striking power of its enormous counterpart. As the piece continues from window to window, it undulates, disappearing behind the building façade and reappearing in the next window, ironically mimicking actual road tattoos as they dissolve unevenly due to traffic, time, and weather. This site-specific project re-imagines its original source and connects Mixed Greens’ 26th Street windows to the larger community.