Monday, October 26, 2009

Graffiti Art





Before Twitter and Facebook, there was graffiti. It told us who, what, and where. It was a shout out, a prayer, a protest, a hello, a wish, and a good-bye. An identity in spray paint, initials tossed up on the overpass, morphed into fine art thanks to the likes of Keith Haring. His images, now icons of an era, came to an end too soon. With his death at 31 due to complications from AIDS, Haring's graffiti art was the perfect egalitarian counterpoint to the corporate conservatism of Reagan's 1980s. Discovering a Haring in the subway, drawn in chalk on black paper before a new ad was posted, was like discovering a new form of life. And then came success. His images appeared on everything and everywhere, especially as he fueled the merchandise craze with his store, The Pop Shop. I even had a Haring-designed Swatch, the epitome of chic at the time. Today, incorporating graffiti text into an image brings a hard-edged energy to the most staid and established images. Before his death last year, Robert Rauschenberg's best piece in his 2008 show at PaceWildenstein Gallery is this print combining literature, photographs, and graffiti-like text. This graphic mixture is explosive.

4 comments:

Staci said...

I remember being really little and sleeping in my uncle's childhood bedroom at my grandmother's house. He had a, what looked like to me then, HUGE Keith Haring painting on his wall and every night I'd fall asleep imagining what the subject in the murel was doing and even thinking. I'd make these stories and scenes up that would later appear in a dream. To me, any man who can create that kind of thought in a little kid is a true artist--I've loved him ever since!
Great post! :)

Nadine @ BDG said...

I'm so glad my entry brought back a happy memory of your uncle. I've always felt that way about artist whose work appeals to children too.

Nadine @ BDG said...

I just want to thank Staci for linking this entry with her own blog http://staci-lchaim.blogspot.com/ --about her experiences of being a university student in Israel.

Chessa! said...

I love this art form. I'm always looking for cool graffiti and street art.