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Above The Street Spirit: Thom Yorke And Jay-Z Redesign NY Water Tanks
February 23, 2012
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Non-profit organization Word Above the Street is gathering a group of artists to transform 300 of New York City's water towers into art projects. Many of the expected participants in 'The Water Tank Project' are prominent visual artists - including Marilyn Minter, Ed Ruscha, Andy Goldsworthy, and lots of others - and a couple of musicians have also signed on: Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jay-Z.

The project, which will see 300 water tanks transformed for 12 weeks in 2013, is intended to increase awareness of the need to conserve water, as well as the negative consequences of plastic waste from water bottles. In addition to the familiar names who have already agreed to take part, the organizers of Word Above the Street are seeking unknowns: their website features a call to "all artists regardless of age, experience, sex, race, color, or national origin", and they are planning a school competition to allow some aspiring artists to take part.

Here are some renderings of what some of the tanks may look like:

Tony Oursler


Ed Ruscha


The Water Tank Project is part of a tradition of artists using street art to make a statement. Of course, there are many examples of street artists whose public work has made an impact. JR and Banksy are two examples:


Haiti - Inside Out Project


Kenya - Women Project


Jerusalem and Palestine - Face2Face Project




Los Angeles 2011


Boston 2010


London 2011


Related stories on

Banksy, Meet Tom Hanks. Fans of Clever Art Pranks, Meet Hanksy.

AWESOME THING OF THE DAY: JR's Pervasive Street Art


Gallerist NY on The Water Tank Project

JR's website

Banksy's website


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