Graffiti Art mrom the Martin Wong Collection

February 4 – August 24, 2014

First Exhibition of the Martin Wong Collection, Featuring 150 Works by CEY, DAZE, DONDI, FUTURA 2000, Keith Haring, LADY PINK, LEE, TRACY 168, and More New York Graffiti Artists of the 1970s–’80s Detail from Lee Quiñones, Howard the Duck, 1988 New York, February 3, 2014 – The Museum of the City of New York presents City As Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection, the first exhibition of the treasure trove of 1970s and ’80s graffiti art amassed by artist and pioneering collector Martin Wong, who donated the entire collection to the Museum in 1994.

The exhibition features seminal paintings and “black book” sketches by CEY (Cey Adams), DAZE (Chris Ellis), DONDI (Donald White), FUTURA 2000 (Leonard McGurr), Keith Haring, LADY PINK (Sandra Fabara), LEE (Lee Quiñones), RAMMELLZEE, SHARP (Aaron Goodstone), TRACY 168 (Michael Tracy), ZEPHYR (Andrew Witten), and many more New York graffiti artists, as well as photographs by Charlie Ahearn, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, and Jon Naar that show the era’s graffiti-covered subways and buildings.

Toxic - Bubble self, 1983 - Martin Wong graffiti collection
Toxic – Bubble self, 1983 – Martin Wong graffiti collection

City as Canvas opens Tuesday, February 4 and will remain on view until Sunday, August 24, 2014. 1 City as Canvas explores the cultural phenomenon of New York City graffiti art, beginning with historical photographs of graffiti long erased from subways and buildings, and delving into paintings and sketchbooks collected by Martin Wong (1946–1999). Graffiti emerged as a powerful form of self-expression in New York City in the 1970s. With Wong and his friends at its epicenter, the movement evolved from illicit expressions on subway cars and station walls to colorful paintings embraced as valuable works of art by collectors and patrons from the Downtown scene of the 1980s.