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I recently decided to purchase all of the street art books in my Amazon wishlist. This turned into quite an endeavor because they all arrived at the same time and I found myself loaded up yesterday afternoon with over 38 lbs of stuff in my messenger bag (including the MacBook Air, iPad and u-lock). Here’s what was included:

Alphabet City: Out On The Streets (2004)

by Michael De Feo.

This children’s board book features photographs of Michael De Feo’s joyful street art images representing each of the letters of the alphabet.

As an example, the page for the letter “f” includes a photo of one of De Feo’s classic flower images pasted to the base of a light-post.

From the Wooster Collective:

To put the book together, Michael spent months on end creating and then pasting up in terrific spots all over New York, street art with each piece representing a single letter in the alphabet.

Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC (2009 revised edition)

by James T. and Karla L. Murray.

From Ginko Press:

Broken Windows — Graffiti NYC documents the flowering of the graffiti movement of the post-train era, and this newly revised 2010 edition has been completely redesigned with 70 more pages and many new photographs from the era.

In the 1980’s graffiti was pushed out of the subways as the trains were cleaned once and for all. In the 1990’s, much of the graffiti action in New York migrated to the city’s walls, enabling the ‘writers’ to execute more refined and concept-driven large-scale pieces. By the end of decade, this new medium was being used to great effect.

Photographers James & Karla Murray took great pains to faithfully capture an unprecedented re-birth of the movement, documenting the most significant murals created between 1996 – 2001.

Broken Windows contains insightful interviews, an extensive selection of womens’ graffiti, and features the work of more than 180 artists from The United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland, Italy, and Norway.

The Faith of Graffiti (2009 new edition)

words by Norman Mailer, photographs by Jon Naar.

From the Wooster Collective:

Published 35 years ago, The Faith Of Graffiti, is a meditation of tags, marks, concrete and trains. Legendary photographer Jon Naar captured a moment in history with the eye of a outsider combined with the precision of an architecture and design photographer. Norman Mailer wrote a text that is perhaps more relevant today than ever before.

Until now, Faith of Graffiti has been out-of-print and completely impossible to find. But this month Faith of Graffiti as been re-released in an expanded edition with new cropping and additional photos.

Also see the Wooster Collective’s special edition Exclusive Jon Naar Print and Signed Faith of Graffiti Book.

Graffiti World Updated Edition (2009)

by Nicholas Ganz, edited by Tristan Manco.

From Wooster Collective (2004):

In our minds, GRAFFITI WORLD is by far the best book ever to come out on graffiti and street art. The main reason for this is the sheer magnitude and quality of the photographs. They are amazing. The art on each and every page is absolutely stunning. Graffiti World sets the bar so high, that it will be hard for others to “one up” it. The book is so packed with art that it can take you days to absorb it all. We’re still going through it. So without trying to sound like a cheesy book critic, our advice to you is that if there’s one art book to get this winter, this is the one.

From the New York Times (2009):

This updated edition of Ganz’s 2004 book features over 2,000 photographs of street art by more than 150 artists, including work by Os Gêmeos, a team of twins from São Paulo, Brazil, top; and Stormie, a painter and sculptor from Perth, Australia.

Spraycan Art (1987)

by Henry Chalfant and James Prigoff.

With 224 photos of graffiti from around the world, Spraycan Art chronicles graffiti writing in the United States, England, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. The book also includes an introduction by Zephyr and Revolt.

Also included is a glossary of spraycan and street art terms, including:

  • bite: to copy another writer’s style
  • chillin’: being out there and being cool.
  • king: the best with the most.
  • toy: inexperienced or incompetent writer.

The book is dedicated:

To the spraycan kings of New York City who, in a hostile environment, created and perfected a new art form and, by their example, excited the imagination of young people throughout the United States and across the seas.

Street Logos

by Tristan Manco.

From the Wooster Collective (2004):

If we had to choose only one art book to buy this year, our pick would be Tristan Manco’s latest work for Thames and Hudson, Street Logos. We’re absolutely blown away by how good it is. There are a lot of really good books out there on street art, but Tristan’s book is the first really great one. With Street Logos, Tristan has evolved his thoughts on street art first developed in Stencil Graffiti. He presents a series of artists in five separate sections – Signs, Iconographics, Logos, Urban Characters, and Free-Forms.

From the New Yorker:

Manco’s colorful survey of this D.I.Y. subculture spotlights some seventy artists working in the service of an impulse that is variously subversive, ironic, pop, celebratory, and dogmatic. In this medium, recognition is everything, and Manco’s subjects are heavily influenced by the use of logos in advertising; the London artist Banksy terms his work “Brandalism.” Exuberantly inventive, they enjoy responding to, and even altering, each other’s work, to form what the New York-based artist Swoon calls a “community of actions.”

Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant.

Originally published in 1988, this update to the bible of the urban street-art movements comes in a large format (almost 12″x17″) hardcover edition with huge, vibrant centerfolds of full-car pieces.

From Chronicle Books:

With 70 additional photographs, and a fresh introduction and afterword, this collector’s edition illustrates the passion, creativity and resourcefulness of unlikely kids inventing an art form destined to spread worldwide and spawn the present-day street art movement.


by Swoon.

with an introduction by Jeffrey Deitch.

From press release posted on Brooklyn Street Art:

Artist Caledonia Curry is known as Swoon to admirers who follow her work on streets and in galleries all over the world. She is perhaps best known for the life-size prints and figural paper cutouts she has pasted on walls for the past ten years, each portrait taking on a new life as it is slowly destroyed by the elements. Much of Swoon’s work is like this—beautiful and powerful, but ephemeral.

Swoon’s projects are often grand in scope, requiring weeks of preparation and huge numbers of collaborators to make them a reality. And then they disappear. Her art collective, Toyshop, was known for organizing massive street parties and demonstrations in New York City that were elaborate and dynamic, but fleeting. Her most recent focus has been on armadas of boats fashioned from scavenged junk and then launched by crews of craftsmen into the Mississippi and Hudson rivers and the Adriatic Sea.

This book captures Swoon’s work—her portraits, boats, installations, and parties—and presents them with reflections from collaborators and colleagues. Deitch Projects owner Jeffrey Deitch provides an introduction to the artist and her work, and other contributors include: culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick, Nonsense NYC founder Jeff Stark, journalist and Toyshop-member Rollo Romig, gallery owner Thomas Beale, and playwright Lisa D’Amour. Swoon herself writes the captions and the essay for her Miss Rockaway project.







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