CITY AS CANVAS : New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection

the Martin Wong Collection
By Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran

Texts by Sacha Jenkins, Christopher “Daze” Ellis, and Lee Quinones
In association with the Museum of the City of New York

12oz-CityasCanvas_1

City as Canvas presents a visual account of the birth of graffiti and street art in New York City, and showcases
as-yet-unseen works collected by preeminent artist Martin Wong.
In the late 1960’s graffiti underwent a distinct shift from the self-proclaimed writers moving focus away from the
content of what they were writing, instead emphasizing the quantity and style in which they could place the
graffiti. As this shift towards a more self-expressive art form was taking place, the floodgates were opened for it
to spread worldwide. Graffiti became so ingrained in the public’s conscious that their work and the work of
present-day graffiti artists can be seen on merchandising, advertising, and in the art world.

Martin Wong was one of the first and most ardent collectors of graffiti in New York. His passion led him to
compile and encyclopedic archive of graffiti that exemplifies the range and artistic intentions of the artists behind
it. Being firmly entrenched in the New York City street art world of the late ‘70s and ‘80s allowed Wong to play a
vital role in the growth of the artistic movement by nurturing the creative talents of many of its most gifted
practitioners, and allowed him access to collect amazingly rare pieces such as artist’s coveted black books and
one-off drawings.
City as Canvas contains previously unpublished art by famous street artists such as Futura 2000, Jean-Michel
Basquiat, Christopher “Daze” Ellis, LA II, Lady Pink, and Keith Haring, among others. Through artwork,
photographs, black books, postcards, posters, and flyers made by Wong and his friends, this book traces the
origins of urban self-expression and the era of “outlaw” street art in New York and presents Wong’s archive
which is an invaluable document on this era in art history.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS: Writer and curator Carlo McCormick is the author of numerous books on
contemporary art and artists. His writing has appeared in Art in America, Art News, Artforum, Spin, Tokion, and
Vice, among other publications. He is the senior editor of Paper magazine. Sean Corcoran is the Curator of
Prints and Photography at the Museum of the City of New York. Sacha Jenkins is a journalist, author, and TV
producer. His writing has appeared in Vibe, Spin, Rolling Stone, Complex, and Mass Appeal. Christopher
“Daze” Ellis is a street and studio artist. Lee Quinones is a street artist and actor.
Credit line for the book must read as follows: City as Canvas by Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran, Skira
Rizzoli, 2013.

CITY AS CANVAS: New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection
By Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran
Texts by Sacha Jenkins, Christopher “Daze” Ellis, and Lee Quinones
Hardcover with jacket / 8 ¾” x 10” / 240 pages / 200 color and b&w illustrations
US $45.00 / Can $45.00 / UK £27.95
Skira Rizzoli
ISBN: 978-0-8478-3986-5
Publication date: October 2013
www.rizzoliusa.com
EXHIBITION INFORMATION
􀁋 Museum of the City of New York: January 2014

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