01 March 2012

Weekly Perusables: The Faith of Graffiti

The Faith of Graffiti documents the early graffiti art of New York City. First published in 1974, the book includes full color photographs by Jon Naar and Mervyn Kurlanksy with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning writer Norman Mailer. Mailer's essay covers the origins of the movement and discusses graffiti as pure art, comparing it to celebrated works in the MoMA and the Met.

Kurlansky and Naar's photographs, shot in twelve days throughout the city's boroughs, depict both the birth of an art form, and the decay of 1970s New York. The pieces in Faith of Graffiti are mainly name tags and early developments of the more elaborate letting styles found in the 1984 book Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. Both titles trace the progression of early street art and serve as essential documentation of work long cleaned off or painted over.

The Faith of Graffiti
by Jon Naar, Mervyn Kurlanksy, and Norman Mailer
GT3913.N72 N44 1974

Subway Art
by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant
GT3913.N72 N43 1984

"Off the Wall" by Hua Hsu on bookforum.com. Image from flavorwire.com 

(blog entry by Sara O'Sha)

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