Condemned Paris apartment becomes work of graffiti art

  • People queue to visit a social housing tower converted into a temporary street art exhibition in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Condemned apartments never looked so good _ and only rarely has graffiti met such an enthusiastic welcome. More than 80 artists were given free run of a rundown building that is doomed to destruction in 8 days. The line wraps around the block every day to see the apartments, each of which is its own art installation. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS — Condemned apartments covered in spray paint have probably never been in such demand.

An entire apartment tower in eastern Paris has been turned over to 105 street artists from around the world, giving them a chance to turn each home into its own art installation during the building's final days.

The artists had seven months to tag "Tour Paris 13" — named for the district where it's located — coating apartments sometimes still filled with debris, trash and furniture. All their work will vanish by the end of the year, as the tower, which has nine stories and a basement, is demolished piece by piece after next week.

"I really wanted the artist to intervene on a whole space," said Mehdi Ben Cheikh, the gallery owner who initiated the project. "I didn't want the spectators to come and look at art. I wanted the spectators to come and enter an art work ... which means there are things everywhere — we enter a room, and have to turn around in every direction to understand the surroundings."

The result is a tower exhibiting a range of artistic styles. There's a skull-inspired mural, Arabic calligraphy, a bloody bathroom, and a glow-in-the-dark cow crawling with snakes.

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