It could have been Thursday in Chelsea on Wednesday night in Murray Hill, as the crowds maneuvered through sidewalk drinkers in front of the Day-Glo graffitied windows of the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI). The RCI flew in three early-twenties graffiti artists to team up with Wooster Collective co-founders Sara and Marc Schiller and cover the gallery walls in brightly colored religious icons, serpents, spies, manimals, slogans, and symbols. Schiller, who spends his days collaborating with street artists, wanted to give these artists the opportunity to interact with New York. "As much as technology and the Web connect everything, you can't replicate the experience of being together."
The opening also merged street and multimedia art with screenings and interactive installations from Simultan, Romania's largest video and media-arts festival. It's still a relatively small festival, but Cristian Neagoe, the young new communications director largely responsible for bringing these artists here, says it's easier to get an authentic experience that way. "Here it's a bit more controlled," he says. "An artist becomes trendy and the media latch on. In Romania they're starting from scratch, nobody watches or gives a damn, and that way, they have the freedom to innovate." —Catrinel Bartolomeu