This timely new book offers unrivalled insight into some of the most exciting and
challenging work on the contemporary art scene and its place in urban society.
Since the early days of the graffiti movement in late 1970s New York, street art has been transforming cities around the world. Despite its burgeoning popularity, it remains a highly controversial art form.
In ABSTRACT GRAFFITI, Cedar Lewisohn provides a vibrant account of the ‘outer limits’ of street art and graffiti that are being explored by artists in cities as diverse as London, Moscow, São Paulo and Philadelphia. As he explains, ‘While the general public may grapple with the concept that art can be anything other than a painting or sculpture, these artists have a complex and diverse understanding of art’s form and function.’
Their work is abstract in the sense that it embraces a fresh and unrestricted approach to art. The conventional boundaries between street art and public art become blurred, with such artists as Sweet Toof and Tek33 – who discuss their influences in an exclusive interview – crossing over from the ‘adrenaline rush’ days of illegal street art into galleries.
Further interviews with other established graffiti artists, as well as with new practitioners of avant-garde forms of art in public spaces, and even with a judge and a professor of sociology, reveal the emerging trends and style developments in global street art.
This fully illustrated book contains more than 160 photographs of new work – some politically charged, some humorous, most a riot of colour – in cities from Buenos Aires to Berlin. It addresses issues ranging from street art as a form of protest, to the evolution of materials, thus providing a far-reaching analysis of the influence of graffiti and the distinctions between ornament and crime.
Cedar Lewisohn is a London-based writer, artist and curator. He curated the exhibition Street Art at Tate Modern in 2008, and is the author of Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution (2008).