Brainbow Alley

Created 2016, currently on view

LOCATION: Alley south of Central and Gold between 5th and 6th Streets, directly behind 516 ARTS

516 ARTS presents Brainbow Alley by Larry Bob Phillips on the backside of our building. In this piece, Phillips created a mash-up of high and low culture, art history and comic books. The piece references Pieter Breugel the Elder’s masterpiece The Triumph of Death, in which a panorama of skeletons and humans are locked in an eternal battle. Unlike the anonymous, indistinguishable human faces that comprise Breugel’s macabre disaster-scape, the featured protagonists in Brainbow Alley include some familiar Albuquerque artists, professors, kids, grandfathers, dogs and community leaders.

Brainbow Alley started back in the spring of 2014 for our Heart of the City project, which focused on visions for the urban environment and growing the creative core of our city. A year and a half later, after a process that evolved around the artist’s busy schedule of exhibitions and commissions, 516 ARTS is the lucky home to one of Phillips’ fantastical and virtuosic black and white murals that have been popping up around Albuquerque. 

This site was chosen to enliven the dilapidated alley and demonstrate how alleys can become pockets of urban creativity in Downtown Albuquerque’s revitalization process. Phillips is a highly esteemed contemporary artist whose vision for this alley site is a positive addition to the evolving Downtown mural scene.


Larry Bob Phillips received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the University of New Mexico. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and institutions both nationally and internationally including the Houston Arts League, Recess Activities (NYC), Good/Bad Art Collective (Brooklyn), New Mexico State University Art Museum, Roswell Museum of Art, Entrance Gallery (Prague), Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Fe), and most recently he presented two large, site-specific murals at the Albuquerque Museum. In addition to his fine art practice, Phillips has completed numerous large-scale mural projects in a variety of locations across the Southwest and beyond. He lives and works in Albuquerque.

516 ARTS thanks Larry Bob Phillips, Kimberly Crawford, the Historic District Improvement Company, filmmaker Dicky Dahl and the following mural contributors: Diane Burke, Diane Cress, Jitka Dekojova, Bill Gilbert, Rachel Harris-Huffman, James Jacob, Norty and Summers Kalishman, David Leigh, Karlita Linden, Adrienne Salinger, Linda Slater, Randy Trask and David Vogel and Marietta Patricia Leis.