The Museum of the City of New York
February 4 – August 24, 2014
1220 5th Ave, New York
+1 212-534-1672

This exhibition is the first showcase of the treasure trove of 1970s and ’80s graffiti art amassed by artist and pioneering collector Martin Wong, who donated his entire collection to the Museum of the City of New York in 1994. The exhibition features seminal paintings and “black book” sketches by CEY (Cey Adams), DAZE (Chris Ellis), DONDI (Donald White), FUTURA 2000 (Leonard McGurr), Keith Haring, LADY PINK (Sandra Fabara), LEE (Lee Quiñones), RAMMELLZEE, SHARP (Aaron Goodstone), TRACY 168 (Michael Tracy), ZEPHYR (Andrew Witten), and many more New York graffiti artists, as well as photographs by Charlie Ahearn, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, and Jon Naar that show the era’s graffiti-covered subways and buildings.

City as Canvas explores the cultural phenomenon of New York City graffiti art, beginning with historical photographs of graffiti long erased from subways and buildings, and delving into paintings and sketchbooks collected by Martin Wong (1946–1999). Graffiti emerged as a powerful form of self-expression in New York City in the 1970s. With Wong and his friends at its epicenter, the movement evolved from illicit expressions on subway cars and station walls to colorful paintings embraced as valuable works of art by collectors and patrons from the Downtown scene of the 1980s.