Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
By the time I make it to the 400 block of New York Avenue NW during my morning commute, I’m irritated as hell: I’ve made it through the traffic circles on Massachusetts Avenue and past cars with Maryland plates that insist on making left turns at Johns Hopkins’ SAIS complex, and likely gunned the accelerator to dodge jaywalkers at the poorly synced lights flanking the Convention Center. But then I hit my favorite stretch of New York Avenue, just shy of the Yale Steam Laundry Condominiums, where I get to sit for one to three minutes while I wait for traffic to figure out how to get into the 3rd Street tunnel. There, I ponder the history of two abandoned, dilapidated, and irregularly shaped buildings. And more importantly, I consider the enormous head created by the artist Gaia, who wheatpasted the drawing onto one of the buildings sometime during his summer 2010 exhibition at the Irvine Contemporary art gallery. The big head has suffered in the months since; soon it will disappear and so, I assume, will the awkward green edifice that holds the work, replaced by a hulking condo. For now, it’s a decrepit stretch of street art, but it’s the best thing I’ve got on my morning commute.