City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection
On View September 20, 2024 - January 13, 2025
When Martin Wong (1946-1999) began collecting art in the 1970s, graffiti was still considered an illicit and underground movement. While working at Pearl Paint, an art supply store on Canal Street in Manhattan, he befriended New York City graffiti writers, many of whom were just teenagers, and began acquiring their work through purchase or trade. During this time Wong also pursued his own career as a painter. While Wong himself painted in a realist/representational style, he recognized the artistic ability of up-and-coming graffiti writers. City as Canvas includes many of the earliest surviving examples of graffiti art by writers who went on to have important careers in the arts, fashion, and music industries. Several works in this pioneering exhibition refer back to original pieces that were spray-painted on buildings or subways before being destroyed.
City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection was organized the Museum of the City of New York.
Image Credit: Lee Quinones, Howard the Duck, 1988, oil paint on canvas, 58 x 88 inches.