Abstract Parking Lot

A proposal to resurface a parking lot

The gridded parking lot has become a ubiquitous part of car culture. Whether at a Wal-Mart, a grocery store or a business, the painted parking lot is a recognizable ecosystem designed to hurry customer from car to business expeditiously while maximizing the number of cars in the lot.

Divided spaces are both efficient and disempowering. We must park within the lines, regardless of the size of our car. When we enter a lot, we turn into treasure hunters, looking for space. Cars often are parked on the lines, making it awkward for adjacent ones (image below right). For large lots, divider lines are essential to keep order. For small, intermittently used ones, they are unnecessary.

This project will turn one small lot into a parking lot painting. The parking lot’s lines are rendered disfunctional as dividers and instead painted into a unified composition. The lines, recognizable in hue and size, would intersect one another in a Kenneth Martin-style composition to be designed by New Haven artist Zachary Keeting. The parking lot becomes the canvas, the monochromatic dividers, the paint.

Without the usual spaces, a driver who enters the lot is forced to pause, reflect, and make a decision as to where to park the car. Without a fixed grid, the cars may be parked differently each time one enters. This is a system used at gravel parking lots where striped dividers can’t exist.

This installation is a playful and unusual treatment suitable for a forward-thinking art institution or business. It is also ideal as a temporary installation, timed with an exhibit. The dysfunctional lines serve to remind us that the parking lot, like any environment, should not be used only as transition, but can become a destination unto itself.


Proposal by John Caserta and Zachary Keeting

Support the project

We are seeking partners (those with a lot) and funders (those with money) to support the project. Galleries, business owners and independents are all welcomed to consider the proposal. Contact John Caserta


A parking lot is needed and will be chosen for its space, surrounding environment and appropriateness to the proprietor. Sites will be studied for their compositional potential. For instance, is the lot viewable from upper windows, hills, sidewalks or other non-standard perspectives. Once a site is chosen, a design will be made for that site. Standard crews will asphalt and then paint the surface based on tape laid down. The project can be temporary, or permanent. The painting will be designed by Zachary Keeting* of New Haven. He has worked in both abstract geometry in both acrylic and ink. Each site will lend itself to a custom piece.

Posted on Aug 17, 2008