New York Style Masters Exhibition
This article was posted by Alan Ket 2 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, 6 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes ago.
In October I curated an exhibition in Copenhagen titled New York Style Masters at the Wearerelated gallery. The gallery is situated in the diverse Norreboro neighborhood where writers seem to have taken over. The streets of Norreboro are filled with great tags, throw-ups, pieces, and stencils too - a perfect location for the gallery and for the presentation of this small show. The impetus of the show comes from my interest in preserving and collecting old drawings from New York City style writers. It is something I have been doing for more than a few years and my friends at wearerelated knew this and asked me to bring this type of art and discussion over to their side of town so that the local writers can experience viewing works from writers that are not so well known in Copenhagen but important in the history of style writing and New York graffiti. I was able to assemble the work for the most part from my own collection and that of a few writers. The exhibition ended up feeling more apt for a museum than a gallery I am happy to say and was a good follow up to a similar themed presentation I put together for the Hip Hop Theater festival’s 2009 season at New York University.
Here is the statement I wrote about the exhibition:
During the 1970s and 1980s young men and women took it upon themselves to create beautiful, but illegal works of art on the outsides of New York City’s trains. These young writers challenged traditional means of art production and risked their freedom in order to beautify the trains with their stylistically rendered names. Developing strong and bold letters became a major component of the writer’s movement and originality was the most celebrated aspect of writing culture.
Unlike many of the hundreds of writers painting the trains there existed a select few that pushed and developed letter styles and challenged each other to improve. These writers became the most respected and admired in their community and became known as style writers and a few gained the recognition of style masters. These include legendary writers Phase 2, Riff 170, and Dondi.
During the train era, depending on the year, some of these writer’s train pieces would last longer than others, by the 80s it was typical for the art to last not longer than a few short hours. Today photo documentation is all that is left of these works and many are lost as they were not all documented.
New York Style Masters is a celebration of the pioneers of this global art movement. Many of the works presented are relics, once used as sketches for works that ran on the New York City Subway system during a period when the trains of the Subway were the canvas of choice. The drawings and photographs showcase a lost era in our collective history.
The New York Style Masters project intends to recognize and celebrate the global contributions made by New York City based artists such as PART ONE, FUZZ ONE, BOOTS 119, MARE 139, MIN ONE, DOC, and NOC 167 to the style writing movement while making an effort to preserve work and cement it in the broader lexicon of the global graffiti movement.
And some photos:
Special thanks to the Copenhagen crew: Rune, Kristian, Mikael, Max, Tomcat, and everyone that came out to support.
© Alan Ket & 12ozProphet - Wednesday December 29, 2010