Why Does Kenny Scharf’s East Harlem Artwork Keep Disappearing?

Somebody doesn't want him 'beautifying' the neighborhood.

Kenny Scharf. Courtesy Patrick McMullan.
Kenny Scharf. Courtesy Patrick McMullan.

No more than a month after its re-installment this July, artist Kenny Scharf‘s 60-foot-long vinyl banner on 116th Street in East Harlem was removed for a second time over this past weekend.  The project, which made artnet News’s list of New York’s hottest summer public art, was commissioned by the Friends of the East River Esplanade, a community organization that bills its mission as “beautifying, improving, and reinventing the waterfront from 60th–120th Street.”

“Our group has been working hard to improve and reinvent this beautiful, but neglected, stretch of waterfront,” a representative for the Friends of the East River Esplanade told Page Six. “Apparently, no good deed goes unpunished.”

Jennifer Ratner, a board member of the organization, told Page Six after the first incident in June that it was likely taken by “someone who loves art.”

Kenny Scharf, NEVERENDINGOGO, on the EasT River Esplanade. Courtesy of NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney.

Kenny Scharf, NEVERENDINGOGO, on the EasT River Esplanade. Courtesy of NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney.

The second banner was installed with “dozens of galvanized steel ties” as a deterrent to would-be thieves, according to DNAinfo.

East Harlem, or what’s colloquially known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio, runs from 96th Street to 140th Street.

Whether the Friends of the East River Esplanade plans on issuing another version of Scharf’s $2,000 artwork has not yet been announced.

artnet News reached out to the organization for comment but did not receive an immediate response.


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