This past weekend glimpses of spring were found in New York City! The snow is beginning to melt and the for the first time in awhile I wasn’t completely bundled up. My friends and I decided to take advantage of the exceptionally warm weather (high of 50 degrees, but I’ll take what I can get). We decided to spend the day uptown and after walking a little around Central Park we visited the Museum of the City of New York (what a name). I had never been to this museum and I really wanted to see their newest exhibition, City as Canvas.
City as Canvas gives an extensive look at the work of New York City street artists during the era of the graffiti boom of the 1980s. These works were acquired by and donated to the museum by Martin Wong. Wong, a painter himself who died in 1999, worked at Pearl Paint in Chinatown during the eighties and befriended many local artists. During this time Wong accumulated over 300 works in his tiny Lower East Side apartment and donated them to The MCNY. Currently City as Canvas has about 150 of these works on display ranging from pieces on paper, canvas, sketchbooks and multimedia.
I found the exhibition interesting for the simple fact that something as “illicit” as graffiti is now very much praised and glorified. There is so much controversy surrounding graffiti as to whether it is truly art or just simply an act of vandalism. As debated as it might be times are definitely changing and this exhibit is one amongst many other graffiti shows happening across the country in recent years. As far as street artists go I’m very aware and familiar of the more well-known artists such as Basquiat and Keith Haring but it was really great to see other artists I hadn’t been so familiar with like Christopher Ellis, and Lee Quinones amongst others.
City as Canvas is on view at the Museum of the City of New York until August 24th, 2014. I highly recommend you guys go check it out!