This morning, the owners of Woodward Gallery on Eldridge Street discover that one of the art works by artist Moody at their outdoor Project Space across the street at 132A Eldridge Street was missing. Valued at $5–6,000, according to owner Kristine Woodward, the roughly quarter inch-thick wood panel was part of a street installation that the gallery has supported for the last five years as a way to provide exposure to artists.

According to Woodward, the thief or thieves probably unscrewed the work, which was attached to the billboard with Plexiglas corners, using a power drill. This is the first time any such incident has occurred at the site. “For someone to insult the integrity of the Project Space concept is a shame,” Woodward said. “We dont’ want to place Plexiglas over the whole work or additional security at the site.”

A view of the missing panel today. Parts of a previous work by Matt Siren and Darkcloud is currently visible. (photo courtesy Woodward Gallery)

The billboard is already under heavy CCTV surveillance and Woodward said the crime is already being investigated by the NYPD as a grand larceny. The gallery will be providing the CCTV footage to the police as soon as it is available.

“Security measures are clearly in place but the locking device will probably be improved,” she said.

Woodward doesn’t know why that specific panel, which reads “Absolut Addict” and riffs off the highly popular Absolut vodka ad series, was targeted but she thinks the thief’s intention was probably to take all the panels. “Perhaps they stopped because they didn’t realize how long it would take,” she says.

The Woodward Project Space is a rotating outdoor venue that invites street and graffiti artists to make work in a designated legal space. Past participants have included Lady Pink, COPE2, Celso, Stickman, Michael de Feo, LAII and many others.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.