The Mulholland Group

21 Floors

Syracuse, New York

The Mulholland Group introduces the Vertical Gallery

The Mulholland Group President and CEO Royce Mulholland continued his commitment to enrich culturally TMG’s residential properties. Royce strongly believed that one’s economic situation should not be a burden for [enjoying] the fine things in life. Together we developed the vertical gallery at two New York properties. Calling on several national and international artists and photographers, we created two Vertical Galleries containing 73 pieces of art work for the enjoyment of TMG residents and the beautification of their communities.”

The forty-five-year-old towers fell into disrepair over the years and crime became a problem in and around the property, but in the last ten years the area around the building has been transitioning with the establishment of up-scale restaurants and cultural facilities literally a block away. My challenge was to mount an indestructible permanent art exhibit, augmented periodically by temporary on topic exhibits of works by local artists and graduating art students from Syracuse University. Enter my good friend Bill Conlon.

Around that time I knew that Bill was working on a new series of paintings on large canvases, but I was not aware of how many he had completed and/or if he was ready to share their existence with the outside world. I also knew that hanging valuable artwork on the walls of the property would be impractical because of durability issues in a busy urban environment, and everything else that comes with it. Of course, there was also the question of Bill’s interest and willingness to participate in the escapade, for no other reason than the small compensation commensurate with low-income housing budgets. I wouldn’t have known the answer though, if I didn’t ask him. So, I did.

Around that time I knew that Bill was working on a new series of paintings on large canvases, but I was not aware of how many he had completed and/or if he was ready to share their existence with the outside world. I also knew that hanging valuable artwork on the walls of the property would be impractical because of durability issues in a busy urban environment, and everything else that comes with it. Of course, there was also the question of Bill’s interest and willingness to participate in the escapade, for no other reason than the small compensation commensurate with low-income housing budgets. I wouldn’t have known the answer though, if I didn’t ask him. So, I did.

Alas, he graciously agreed, and we soon embarked on the adventure. There was only one “small” problem. The building had twenty-one floors in need of one painting each, and Bill had finished painting only fourteen canvases in the new series. We had to get creative fast, as this could not be a “work in progress.” Plus, site specific imperatives like damage-proof, graffiti-proof, and accident-proof, to name a few, pretty much ruled out the feasibility of mounting actual paintings in the public space on every floor. My problem-solving cortex brought that to m y attention even before I approached Bill, and the consensus was that one way to satisfy all the demands placed on the actual art to be installed was to embed it into the construction itself. Hence the idea of enlarging the artwork digitally, and printing the images of the paintings mechanically on linoleum flooring, one for every elevator floor landing, on twenty-one floors. The events progressed into a fun adventure overnight with the arrivals of Hasting-on-Hudson based master printer and digital artist Ben Diep, and Minneapolis based Tim Wirtz of Graphic Image Flooring.

Bill and Ben worked together creatively for almost two months to translate fourteen paintings into mega size digital art files, and to create seven additional paintings in the series that exist only digitally. Tim then made it all happen and printed on adhesive back linoleum twenty-one 14 feet by 19 feet “abstract art rugs” currently installed and on exhibit in every elevator lobby, on every floor of the Royce Residences, in Syracuse, New York.

Voila!

Bill, I am grateful that you, too, believed “… that one’s economic situation should not be a burden for [enjoying] the fine things in life.” Ben, thank you for working closely with Bill to give life to the concept. Tim, thank you for your dedication to fashion concrete forms from an artistic idea. I am forever grateful to all of you.