Jeff Koons x Groundswell Public Hotel Mural

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spring is in the air, which means that New Yorkers are spending more time outside again. Take a stroll through the winding streets of SoHo for an afternoon of surprise and discovery of a new one-of-a-kind public mural gracing the façade of 11 Howard hotel, which came to life with cerulean and azul graphics, created as a partnership between a group of young artists from New York arts community organization Groundswell and their mentor, as well as one of today’s most celebrated artists, Jeff Koons.

11 Howard is the latest elite hotel from the real estate mogul and RFR co-founder Aby Rosen that will showcase the work of inspiring young artists, collaborating with Groundswell, a New York community mural organization that uses young artists’ creativity as a tool for change.

The site-specific mural currently on display at 11 Howard is a 150 foot-by-50-foot South-facing wall that celebrates the history and culture of SoHo through its symbolism, such as music, food, fashion, and the area’s industries of yesteryear, including a bird on an illuminated wire, which reflects the ambiance in and around SoHo.

The artwork also features a touching homage to another master of public murals, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was one of the artists in the 1980s that made SoHo a hot destination. Koons included a crown to celebrate the Basquiat’s contribution to the mural art. If you look closer you’ll also spot a woman, representing the cosmopolitan spirit of SoHo and a fork, alluding to the restaurant scene presence in this part of the town.


The iconic neighborhood is not the only inspiration behind the mural. The young artists from Groundswell got to visit Aby Rosen’s office at RFR and to view pieces from his own personal art collection, as well as the neighborhood around 11 Howard. Thus each artist created their own unique design, then coming together and putting them all as one. Misha Tyutyunik, Groundswell’s lead artist for the project, then refined these concepts to produce a single comprehensive piece. Firstly designed in black and white, blue color was later added to help move the viewer’s eye around the mural.

The team brought this final design into Jeff Koons’ studio for his feedback, creative guidance, and some final modifications. This is how this mural became a work that truly defines the spirit of collaboration embodying not only to the ever-changing fast-paced SoHo, but the collaborative and constantly evolving nature of New York City itself.

For more information and to book a reservation, visit To learn more about Groundswell, check out


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by Debbie BancroftPhotographed by Griffin Lipson and Hunter Abrams/