Artist Anton Van Dalen has long found both a purpose and an audience in the community of the East Village, where he has lived for more than forty years. In the 1980s, his street posters—which addressed the neighborhood’s rampant social ills—became familiar sights for local residents. These were the years when much of the Lower East Side lay in decay, and the words “East Village” were synonymous with drugs and crime.
Gallery 98 has available two of Van Dalen’s street posters from the early 1980s. “Two-Headed Monster Destroys Community” and “The Shooting Gallery” were both created at the Lower East Side Printshop, then a storefront workshop open to the community. Most of Van Dalen’s posters were printed on thin paper and wheatpasted on walls. A smaller number were done on heavier archival stock and saved by the artist. These important early works by a street-art pioneer have since been exhibited in major museums.
Gallery 98 specializes in the art and ephemera of downtown New York from the 1970s and 1980s. Other works of socially-engaged street art on the site include Christy Rupp’s rat pieces and a portfolio of posters and multiples from the artists’ group COLAB.