In 1970s New York, photographer Martha Coopercaptured some of the first images of a burgeoning graffiti culture, as colourful pieces were appearing on the subways. Decades later, she realises she has become an unlikely icon of a global arts movement.
Spray Daily joined forces with the Museum of the City of New York to give you an inside look at their groundbreaking exhibition entitled “City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection.” Martin Wong, a New York City graffiti art collector and community stronghold whose life was claimed by AIDS in 1999, gifted his extensive collection of 1970s- and 1980s-era paintings, photography, black books, personal mementos and more created by legends including (but by no means limited to) Lee Quiñones, LADY PINK, Cey Adams, Keith Haring and Martha Cooper to the museum in 1994.
Twenty years later, Sean Corcoran, MCNY’s Curator of Prints and Photographs, dreamed up and curated the exhibition – which only includes a fraction of Wong’s graffiti treasure trove – to display the collection for the first time.
Though the exhibition was a long time coming, featured artist Lee Quiñones told Spray Daily that “the gestation period is appropriate at this point,” and celebrated it as an opportunity to introduce the world to graffiti as being a “wholly collectible fine art.”
If you’ll be in New York City between now and September 1st officially been extended through Labor Day. But, if you can’t make it (or, if you’re curiosity’s just been sparked), check out our video for an exclusive peek at the exhibition, its backstory and why honouring the work of graffiti’s forefathers (and mothers) is so vitally necessary to bringing the art form into the future.
If you would like to see more of the exhibition there is also a 260-page book with the same name that was released on the opening. Read more about the book and check the preview at Amazon.com: City As Canvas book.