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The Most Extensive Survey of the Art of Graffiti

  • Nov 22, 2005
Nicholas Ganz has researched the topic of Street Art known in some circles as Graffiti and in this comprehensive book has gathered images not only from the United States but from five continents, images identified by artist with a brief biography accompanied by panorama shots of the larger scale works coupled with details. The result is a complex, lavishly illustrated survey of the art form of the streets and the people who create it.

Graffiti is still a controversial subject. The one form of graffiti which simply marks gang areas or swiftly splays across windows and freeway overhangs and covers billboards is not the issue here. Yes, there is a destructive force to some forms of defacement known as tagging. But that is not the subject of this book. Not unlike the fine little Indie film 'The Graffiti Artist' by James Bolton, this book follows the art forms developed by various artists which are more like the murals of yesteryear that are now hallowed as masterpieces. Think Orozco, WPA, etc.

Ganz writes well and his commentary, while mostly descriptive, does delve into some of the philosophical elements of Graffiti Art. Perhaps to those who view any art from a spray can as defacement and the work of hoodlums, this book will open the mind to a popular art of the street. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: perhaps that eye will benefit from this well-designed, well-written, and well-documented survey of international graffiti art. Grady Harp, November 05

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About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this book


Following the unrelated projectAutograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers(powerHouse), which also took an auteur-based approach this past season, Granz (whose pen name is Keinom) widens the scope to present those he sees as the world's top graffiti writers, offering alphabetical sections of artists from the Americas, Europe and "The Rest of the World." Short prefatory histories put New York at the center of the modern graffiti world, with South American countries like Brazil later having "reached a high standard." The work is beautifully photographed throughout; multiple pieces by each artist are laid out appealingly over verso-recto spreads, along with a paragraph by Granz detailing the artist's origins and the main thrust of the work (and occasionally a photo of the artist him or herself). From gigantic murals to tiny stickers, Granz has seen and photographed it all and talks knowledgeably about everything from "wildstyle" fontage to the non-orthographically based "character culture," where artists create (and replicate) cartoonish figures in various figurative exploits. Striking a colloquial balance between insider's knowledge and thoughtful presentation, Granz's book should be durable for its cohesion of vision, if not for the scale of presentation of each artist.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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ISBN-10: 0810949792
ISBN-13: 978-0810949799
Author: Nicholas Ganz
Genre: Arts & Photography, Entertainment
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
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