Subway Art

Subway Art
Author: Martha Cooper Henry Chalfant
Rating: 4.17
Bestsellers Rate: 70836
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Book Format: Paperback
Binding: None
Pages: 128
Hours of reading: 2.1 hours
Publication Date: 2021
Languages: | English |
Price: 19,43 €

About the book

In 1984, photographers Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant captured the imagination of a generation with Subway Art, a groundbreaking book documenting the work of graffiti writers who illegally painted subway cars in New York City. The 2009 edition of the book is now available in a new, slightly reduced format. Henry Chalfant's images of the trains retain their impact, while Martha Cooper's narrative pictures tell the story. In the introductions, the authors recall how they gained entry to the New York graffiti community in the 1970s and 1980s and describe the techniques that they used to photograph it. Afterwords report how the lives of the original subway artists have unfolded, and chronicle the end of the subway graffiti scene in the late 1980s and its unexpected rebirth as a global art movement. This is an essential book for all fans of graffiti, stunning photography and 1980s-cool.


In 1984 the groundbreaking Subway Art brought graffiti to the world, presenting stunning photographic documentation of the burgeoning movement in New York. Thirty years later, this bible of street art has been updated with over seventy photographs not included in the original edition and new insights on an incredibly rich period for urban art and its legacy. In new introductions, authors Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant recall how they gained entry into the New York City graffiti community in the 1970s and 1980s. New afterwords continue the story, tracing the decline of the subway and graffiti scene in the late 1980s to its unexpected rebirth as a global art movement. The authors reveal how the lives of the original subway artists have unfolded and mourn the loss of several to the darker forces of the street.


'The ultimate book for fans of graffiti ... captures 1980s-cool' - City Magazine

Martha Cooper Biography

Martha Cooper is an American photojournalist. She worked as a staff photographer for the New York Post during the 1970s. She is best known for documenting the New York City graffiti scene of the 1970s and 1980s.In 1984, Cooper and Henry Chalfant published their photographs of New York City graffiti in the book Subway Art, which has been called the graffiti bible and by 2009 had sold half a million copies.

Life and work

Cooper picked up photography at the age of three. She graduated from high school at the age of 16, earned an art degree at age 19 from Grinnell College. She taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, journeyed by motorcycle from Bangkok to London and received an anthropology diploma from the University of Oxford. Her first experience in artistic photography began when Cooper was in Japan, and capturing images of elaborate tattoos.She was a photography intern at National Geographic in the 1960s, and worked as a staff photographer at the New York Post in the 1970s. Her photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian and Natural History magazines as well as several dozen books and journals. Her most known personal work, the New York City graffiti scene of the 1970s and 1980s, began while working at the New York Post. On her return home from the Post she began taking photographs of children in her New York City neighborhood. One day she met a young kid named Edwin Serrano (He3) who helped expose her to some of the graffiti around her neighborhood. Serrano helped to explain to her that Graffiti is an art form and that each artist was actually writing his/her nickname. He introduced her to the graffiti "king", DONDI. Dondi was the first to allow her to accompany him – while he was tagging she would take photos of his work. After meeting with Dondi, Cooper became fascinated with the underground subculture that these graffiti artists had created in New York City. In the 1984 she put together a book of photographs illustrating the graffiti subculture called Subway Art. It became known as the Bible of street art.In the 1980s, Cooper worked briefly in Belize photographing the people and archaeological remains of the Mayan culture at sites such as Nohmul and Cuello. Cooper lives in Manhattan, but from 2006 to 2016 she was working on a photography project in Sowebo, a Southwest Baltimore neighborhood. In 2019 she was the subject of a documentary feature Martha: A Picture Story.


Subway Art. By Cooper and Henry Chalfant. Thames & Hudson, London, 1984; Henry Holt, New York, 1984. ISBN 0-03-071963-1 R.I.P.: New York Spraycan Memorials. Thames & Hudson, 1994. ISBN 0-500-27776-1 Hip Hop Files: Photographs 1979-1984. From Here to Fame, 2004. ISBN 3-937946-05-5 Street Play. From Here to Fame, 2005. ISBN 3-937946-16-0 We B*Girlz. text by Nika Kramer, PowerHouse, 2005. ISBN 1-57687-269-6 Tag Town. Dokument Press, 2007. ISBN 978-9185639052 New York State of Mind. PowerHouse, 2007. ISBN 1-5768 ... Read full biography

Authors: Martha Cooper Henry Chalfant
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Languages: | English |
Original Language:
ISBN13: 9780500292129
ISBN10: 0500292124
Reference Edition:
Edition: None
Edition Statement: Reprint
Illustrations: 153 Illustrations, color
Literature Country: None
Literature Period: None
Book Format: Paperback
Book Binding: None
Paper: None
Font: None
Pages: 128
Book Weight: 840
Book Dimensions: 234x335x10.16
Circulation: None
Publication date: Jan. 11, 2016
First Publication Date: None
Publication City/Country: London, United Kingdom

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