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Lower East Side’s former Lowline Lab space will be overtaken by street artists

For one weekend, 10 artists will add huge murals to the former warehouse

Photos by Jesse Vega

The old Lower East Side warehouse that was once home to part of the Essex Street Market—and, until very recently, the Lowline Lab—will soon undergo another transformation. The building is part of the Essex Crossing megaproject, and is due to be demolished in the next few months to make way for what the developer, Delancey Street Associates, is calling Site 8. That building will eventually be home to 92 apartments for low-income seniors.

But for the next three days, it’ll be home to “Market Surplus,” an exhibit curated by artist Adam Lucas, better known as Hanksy. Delancey Street Associates tapped him to program the space for the weekend and make it “a reflection of the incredible local community,” according to Rohan Mehra of the Prusik Group, which is working on Essex Crossing’s commercial spaces.

One of the major spaces within Essex Crossing will be the Market Line, a 150,000-square-foot retail destination that will incorporate a food hall, local vendors, and other shops. In putting the space together, Mehra and his team have been talking to Lower East Side artists and other creatives to find out how to best serve the community. One thing that has come up: a need for more space for artists. “It’s hard to find exhibition space for street artists, in downtown neighborhoods,” says Mehra, and that’s where this weekend’s exhibit comes in.

The whole exhibit came together over the course of a couple of weeks, with Hanky selecting the nine other artists (including Buff Monster and Faust) who are creating murals for the space; each one will measure about 20 feet by 20 feet, with some taking inspiration from the Lower East Side itself.

It’s also something of a test-run for one of the features of the Market Line: Mehra says that one of the market’s entrances near Delancey Street will have an art wall, of sorts, that will feature rotating artworks by up-and-coming artists.

Market Surplus will be open today from 7 to 11 p.m., and through the weekend from noon to 6 p.m. Once the exhibit is over, the building itself will ready itself for demolition; a spokesperson for Delancey Street Associates says that process could begin in the next month or so.