Tue June 30, 2009
The 25th Anniversary Edition of "Subway Art" --- an Important, Pioneering Art Book (about an Important, Pioneering Creative Subculture).
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's StudioTulsa, we speak with the artist and photographer Henry Chalfant. Twenty-five years ago, he and co-author Martha Cooper first published the book, "Subway Art" --- a volume that made quite a splash in the art world, and eventually in the wider world as well. Indeed, as Chalfant explains to our host Rich Fisher, this strikingly-illustrated volume (with more than 200 color photos), did much to assert the cultural and creative importance of graffiti itself. As a critic in the pages of Library Journal has recently noted: "Originally published in 1984, this book created a worldwide awareness of graffiti as a socially and artistically significant movement. In this new and expanded anniversary edition, Cooper and Chalfant, who photographed the trains and the writers (as graffiti artists are called), discuss the origins of their original work and the subway art phenomenon from their perspective 25 years later. In between these short discussions are 100-plus pages of sensational color reproductions, including several striking foldouts. Browsing this book raises questions about creativity, power, commerce, authority, expression, and urban life; it's also just plain fun."