Katie Merz A'84 Draws Instant Mural for WNYC

POSTED ON: June 24, 2024

Katie and window

Katie Merz, a graduate of the School of Art, was featured on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show on Monday, June 10. Noted for her public murals, Merz spoke to Lehrer as she drew a mural on the station’s Greene Space windows on Charlton and Varick Streets, part of WNYC’s centennial celebrations. Working in marker, the artist, who also teaches drawing at Cooper, drew dozens of icons associated with New York—from the Brooklyn Bridge to Pizza Rat. 
“Because these six panes of glass are like the world,” she explained to Lehrer. "It's like New York World. Every experience or everything that you do, a museum, something in a museum, this all can be included in the windows. There's no hierarchy here.”
The show’s listeners called in to give suggestions for New York icons that should be included. They asked for Tin Pan Alley, acknowledgement of Manhattan as Lenape land, a four-handed Statue of Liberty, and the inflatable union rat. Merz obliged in real time.
She said, “It's instant. This is New York in a nutshell. I just did a three-dimensional knish and it has a little smoke coming out the top and a little food cart.” She encouraged people to come in person to make suggestions. “My assistant Violet has a fake mic and a clipboard. She will take notes and I'll put it up right away.”
Merz's signature style, densely-packed glyph patterns, create complex narratives have covered walls in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Austin, and Miami, among other locales. A Brooklyn native, Merz has been awarded the Pollock Krasner Grant, The Oberman Center Collaborative grant, The Robert Motherwell painters grant, a Chinati Foundation fellowship, and the CUAA's Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award. In 2020, she was awarded a Ph.D. in Humane Letters by Ursinus College after completing the Ursinus Smokestack. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally.

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