The exhibition focused on the 1970s and 80s and showed how well-known Amsterdam graffiti artists (‘writers’), such as Shoe and Delta, were influenced by American artists like Dondi and Keith Haring. Alongside key pieces from the collections of private collectors and the Museum of the City of New York, personal effects of the exhibiting graffiti artists including sketchbooks (‘black books’), items of clothing and private photos were used to gain a clear understanding of how graffiti developed from a street phenomenon into an accepted artistic movement. The exhibition also demonstrated how a young generation changed the street scene 30 years ago. And their influence is still very much evident today in music, fashion and in contemporary visual culture.
For the ‘Graffiti. New York meets the Dam’ exhibition, part of the New York display ‘City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection’ was loaned to the Amsterdam Museum. Alongside pieces by Haring, the Wong Collection (1946–1999) also includes unique works by other famous New York names such as Cey Adams, Futura 2000 and Daze. Wong recognised the artistic value of graffiti before it was socially accepted, which enabled the compilation of this one-of-a-kind collection. The ‘City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection’ exhibition was developed by the Museum of the City of New York, and curated by Sean Corcoran, Curator of Prints and Photographs. Aileen Middel (Mick la Rock) was guest-curator on the ‘Graffiti. New York meets the Dam’ exhibition.
For more information on this exhibition, visit Hart – the Amsterdam Museum community website – for the Graffitiblog (in Dutch), Amsterdam Graffiti Hotspots and more.