Artist’s Rt. 212 billboard aims to ‘please the masses’

Smart art Malkin billboard s

Be prepared to see artist Bob Malkin’s mug overlooking Route 212 between Woodstock and Saugerties for the foreseeable future, following a public unveiling 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, September 26 at Euro Nutz automotive repair shop at 1089 Rt. 212.

The 75-year old but eternally youngish Malkin, originally known for his 1980s Think Big! concept store in SoHo before embarking on building up a portfolio of local waterfalls-oriented vacation rentals around the area with wife Babs Pokras, is taking over the emptied Lang Media billboard located by Euro Nutz and hosting a late afternoon wine and cheese “viewing” party for his latest undertaking before the weekend starts.

What’s the idea? Turns out Malkin read a piece a few months back all about how the Outdoor Advertising Association of America was devoting $500,000 to bring more art to the public through a series of billboards featuring great works of American art in reproduction. Think Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Cindy Sherman and Jasper John’s Three Flags writ large and then plastered on 50,000 displays from electronic billboards to bus shelters around the nation. Five museums collaborated, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, offering up everything from Gilbert Stuart’s iconic portrait of George Washington to Hudson resident Glenn Ligon’s giant bald head.


Malkin says that on one of his daily walks up and down Platte Clove he got the idea that he, too, could create billboard art using identifiable images that would “please the masses.” And he could give each piece “a personal touch” by inserting himself into the scenes.

Voila the first billboard, featuring Malkin within the lineup at Mount Rushmore.

“I really did it just to pass on a smile to people, to take them out of their rushing from one place to another and to make them stop and think and reflect on something that’s put there simply to amuse and inspire,” noted Malkin. “It’s as simple as that.”