The New Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side was spray-painted Wednesday morning, March 23, with massive graffiti on its facade. The black, white, and red graffiti spells the moniker “Acer” in large block letters on the museum’s third level, facing Bowery Street.
The graffiti was painted a few feet above artist Glenn Ligon’s installation “A Small Band” (2015), which features the writing “blues blood bruise.” Ligon was among 37 Black contemporary artists participating in the 2021 exhibition Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, originally conceived by the late Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor.
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A spokesperson for the New York Police Department (NYPD) told Hyperallergic that the incident occurred between 1-4am on Wednesday. The spokesperson added that an investigation is underway and that no arrests have been made.
The New Museum has not responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment. Around noon today, March 24, the graffiti appeared partially faded, a sign that museum workers may have attempted to clean it up.
The anonymous tagger, whose work is chronicled on social media with the hashtag #acer444, has earned a daredevil reputation for painting graffiti on heavily secured, hard-to-reach locations. His graffiti has been seen in different cities across the country, including New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland.
Luna Park, a photographer and author who documents graffiti culture in New York City, told Hyperallergic in an interview that “Acer” is believed to be a male graffiti artist based in Seattle or another city in the Pacific Northwest.
“He’s painted a series of high profile, climb-up spots, including a famed ledge on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan,” Park said. “He painted there twice, once using his ‘Acer’ moniker and again as a tribute to the writer Nekst.”
It’s unclear how “Acer” was able to evade the New Museum’s security officers and surveillance cameras.
“It’s an insane spot! And a huge piece,” Park said. “A few people have asked me if it was commissioned because they couldn’t believe someone could get away with painting that type of spot.”