Eldridge Street's Woodward Gallery, founded in 1994, is one of the oldest and largest art spaces on the resurgent Lower East Side gallery scene, and for the past five years has curated an outdoor art space across the street from its storefront space. The Woodward Gallery Project Space has hosted works by many of the gallery's street art-heavy roster, and yesterday morning the gallery's owners noticed that one of the four panels in the current project space installation by Moody had been stolen.
"For someone to insult the integrity of the Project Space concept is a shame," gallery owner Kristine Woodward told Hyperallergic. "We don't want to place Plexiglas over the whole work or additional security at the site."
The piece in question, satirizing Absolut vodka's iconic ad campaign with the words "Absolut Addict," was mounted on a wood panel and valued at between $5,000-$6,000. It had been fastened to the billboard space at 132 Eldridge with Plexiglas corners, and Woodward suspects that the thief or thieves had planned to steal all four panels until unscrewing that first one—likely with a power drill—proved too time-consuming. "Perhaps they stopped because they didn’t realize how long it would take," she said.
Woodward says that the NYPD is already investigating the theft with the help of surveillance video that the gallery is providing. "Security measures are clearly in place," Woodward added, "but the locking device will probably be improved."
Incidentally, Woodward Gallery's latest big street art show, Rather Unique—which includes works by Moody—opens on Saturday.