Portland’s iconic graffiti wall reduced to rubble

A workman sprays the rubble that once was the famous Asylum graffiti wall in Portland on Tuesday to prevent a fire while another operates a backhoe. The wall, slated for demolition during a building expansion, started to come down the day before.  Troy R. Bennett | BDN

A worker sprays the rubble that once was the famous Asylum graffiti wall in Portland on Tuesday to prevent a fire while another operates a backhoe. The wall, slated for demolition during a building expansion, started to come down the day before. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

In a long-predicted move, workers started tearing down the famous spray-painted graffiti art mural on the back wall of the Asylum night club on Monday. By this morning, the landmark on Free Street was just a pile of rubble.

One man operated a backhoe, piling up the cinderblock bits that used to read “Greetings from Portland Maine,” while another sprayed the mound with a hose, preventing any possible fires and keeping the dust down.

Asylum's postcard-inspired, spray painted mural stretches the length and height of the building at the corner of center and Free Streets in Portland in June. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Asylum’s postcard-inspired, spray painted mural stretches the length and height of the building at the corner of center and Free Streets in Portland in June. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The first of several, group-effort murals sprang up on the unbroken wall in the 1990s. The Asylum gave the artists its blessing and occasional financial support. The last one resembled a vintage postcard and sported a lighthouse with the tower replaced by a spray paint can.

The Asylum closed in June but has plans to re-open later this year, possibly with some rebranding. But management has promised that another, smaller wall on the other side of the building will still be available to spray artists.

[Read the original post here, complete with vintage photos of the wall.]

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Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.