The Lure of the Abandoned: in Washington DC & in West Jerusalem

Alex Merritt

There are few sites as alluring to artists – or at least to the artists I tend to meet – as abandoned spaces. A few like the Underbelly Project and Mausolee, last summer’s takeover of an abandoned supermarket in Paris, have attracted considerable media attention. But many others — both sanctioned and unsanctioned — take place regularly on a smaller scale. Earlier this month, a soon-to-be-demolished warehouse in Washington DC’s U Street Corridor became the canvas to over 60 artists. Presented by AIGA DC and Albus Cavus, the space opened to the public for six hours on Friday, June 8th. Blended – as the event was called – successfully fused the worlds of graffiti, street art, graphic design and more as it raised money to support the implementation of public art projects. I was impressed by the range of sensibilities, backgrounds and ages of those who filled the space to capacity. Here are some more images that made their way onto the walls:

i will not

Earlier this spring in Jerusalem, a diverse group of artists covertly refashioned an abandoned home in West Jerusalem’s upscale Emek Refaim neighborhood. Meydad Eliyahu, a Jerusalem-based artist (whom I met years ago when his stencils surfaced regularly on his city’s public spaces) shared the following images with me:

Meydad Eliyahu
Meydad Eliyahu close-up
Michal Mikaho Harada
Michal Mikaho Harada close-up
Lihi Weiss

After the home was refashioned — with library and all — it was opened to the public for a few days. The Empty House is once again empty, but its brief existence has helped revive Jerusalem’s underground art scene.

“Blended” photos by Lois Stavsky & i will not; photos from “The Empty House” by Meydad Eliyahu