Taking the Train

Taking the Train

How Graffiti Art Became An Urban Crisis in New York City

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
Acknowledges the grafitti commonly found on the streets and trains of New York City as an expressive urban art form, and provides a history of the practice from the 1960s to the present.

Columbia Univ Pr

Traces the history of graffiti in New York City against the backdrop of the struggle that developed between the city and the writers.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, young people in New York City radically altered the tradition of writing their initials on neighborhood walls. Influenced by the widespread use of famous names on billboards, in neon, in magazines, newspapers, and typographies from advertising and comics, city youth created a new form of expression built around elaborately designed names and initials displayed on public walls, vehicles, and subways. Critics called it "graffiti," but to the practitioners it was "writing."

Taking the Train traces the history of "writing" in New York City against the backdrop of the struggle that developed between the city and the writers. Austin tracks the ways in which "writing"— a small, seemingly insignificant act of youthful rebellion—assumed crisis-level importance inside the bureaucracy and the public relations of New York City mayoral administrations and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for almost two decades. Taking the Train reveals why a global city short on funds made "wiping out graffiti" an expensive priority while other needs went unfunded. Although the city eventually took back the trains, Austin eloquently shows how and why the culture of "writing" survived to become an international art movement and a vital part of hip-hop culture.

Book News
Austin asserts that the cultural forms developed by graffiti artists in New York City constitute the most important art movement of the late twentieth century, and views the illegal art practiced on the public subway trains as a means for a section of society denied access to the media to express themselves. He also chronicles the history of the cultural practice of graffiti starting in the 1960s as well the response of city officials to the graffiti problem. Color photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, [2001]
Copyright Date: ©2001
ISBN: 9780231111423
Branch Call Number: 081 AUSTI
Characteristics: viii, 356 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm


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