History and Artistry with City as Canvas: Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection
If you’re interested in modern art, counterculture, or the general New York City aesthetic, the City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection exhibit will blow you away. East Village art personality Martin Wong procured one of the most acclaimed and wonderful collections of graffiti art ever put together by an individual. For the rest of this summer, that collection is available for the public to view and enjoy with an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
Wong was born in Portland, Oregon before moving to San Francisco, where he spent his childhood. Following graduation from Humboldt State University, where Wong studied ceramics, the artist worked in and around San Francisco for about a decade. Wong then came to New York’s Lower East Side, where he continued to create and collect. Wong donated his prized collection to the City Museum in 1994 and sadly passed away five years later from the AIDS virus.
Martin started building this collection in the early eighties hanging out with counterculturist artists such as Leo Quinones, Lady Pink, Futura 2000 and Keith Haring. Their cumulative work is a historical landmark for a universally celebrated art form that was and still is marginalized, rejected and misunderstood in the art world. Thanks to Wong’s vision of the value and creativity that goes into graffiti, New Yorkers and tourists are able to enjoy some of these early and influential works.
The various works in the exhibit include acrylic, oil and ink portrayals of cartoons, cities and philosophical concepts that are integral parts of graffiti’s history and culture. In addition to being a medley of praiseworthy and thought-provoking artistry, the exhibit reveals work that may otherwise have gone unpreserved.
The historical value of City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection will be realized for years to come. With that in mind, anybody in New York between now and September 1 should stop by the Museum of the City of New York and check out this moving exhibit.