BY NICO VREELAND
[This coffee-table/Christmas-gift-ready overview and history of street art is the latest C4 Great Read.]
2013, Yale University Press
Filed under: Nonfiction, Other
I’m an amiable fan of street art, not quite an enthusiast, and certainly not a scholar of it. As such, the aptly named World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti fits me quite well. It’s first and foremost a coffee table book and it features a wealth of beautifully presented images, but it also links them together with a unique and quite informative organizational strategy: it’s literally an atlas, organized by geography and grouped into continents and cities. In addition to profiles of artists, Rafael Schacter details specific places and gives site-specific mini-histories of localized street art movements.
He starts in New York, in the 1960s, when the first taggers competed to make their names stand out in a sea of graffiti, and moves on to anti-dictatorship pixação in São Paulo, the heavy historical politics of graffiti in Berlin, the painting brigades of late-’70s Stockholm, and many more cities and street art cultures. It’s simultaneously a light and browse-able format (each city profile is only two pages), and a quite thorough introduction to the fascinating history behind a street art movement that has been gathering steam for decades, though it has only recently come into the public zeitgeist. Continue reading