farm city!

art history. | October 27, 2010

Slavery. Graffiti Crew. The Subway Art History Project.

Joan of Arc, a reimagination of this work by Seen.

Another reimagining, this time of work by Dondi.

Finally, another work in tribute to Blade

See the whole slide show here.

“A collective of graffiti writers who have embarked on an unusual citywide campaign to summon 50 or more of the most famous pieces of old-school graffiti out of the history books and back onto the streets. The project, called “Subway Art History,” is unusual not only because the artists are making the pieces with the permission of businesses, schools and other perhaps nostalgic owners of blank vertical space, but also because of the nature of the pieces themselves. They are expressions of homage in a subculture that has almost always been defined by fierce competition, intense striving for originality and a kill-the-elders attitude toward the past.

…In New York the idea is to use the pieces to try to teach a two-part history lesson. The first is about the glories (as the collective sees it) of the early days of graffiti and the invention of a vernacular art form that has swept the world. The second lesson is about world history itself, in neighborhoods where education remains low on the list of priorities for many struggling teenagers.”

I recently came across the 25th anniversary edition of Subway Art, a collaborative photo book by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper. It’s large format and the photos look great. I especially appreciate Cooper’s photos of works-in-progress, portraits of artists themselves and just her general ability to capture the context of the early graffiti scene in New York.

Anyway, the Times article quoted above, features recreations of work by artists featured in Chalfant + Cooper’s book.


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