Where can you read about Street Art?

Today we are witnessing increased respect for Street Art from general society. People like to see images in the city.  Many curators and interpreters around the world have a new interest in Street Art. A lot of students are writing their final theses on this topic. Right now.

 

But most people have no knowledge about history of Street Art and Graffiti or many people know the one story about Graffiti in NewYork, but it's not true. The history gets more interesting if you read good books about this phenomenon.

So, here we have selected few our favorite books about Urban Art with alternative story/view.  These are not simply catalogues  with nice illustrations, but are books we which combine nice images with good analysis.

 

 

 

Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution

Cedar Lewisohn, 2008, Tate Publishing
Buy on Amazon.
 

The book by Cedar Lewisohn, London-based curator, writer and artist, known as an expert and researcher on street art and graffiti. He curated the exhibition Street Art (2008) at Tate Modern. This book was one of the first, in which the author tried to fully describe the phenomenon of Graffiti and transformation that to Street Art.

We really like this book (but not the cover actually) with its nice explanations about modification of Graffiti and good examples from Situationism, French Street Art pioneers, Brassai photo collection, etc.

 

Graffiti and Street art

Anna Waclawek, 2011, Thames & Hudson
Buy on Amazon
 

Detailed Story about Graffiti and Street Art by Canadian Researcher, Anna Waclawek.

Not something new, but the story line is great. Also it contains some well researched texts about site-specific works, cooperating with art-institutions/brands.

 

 

 

Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art

Carlo McCormick, Marc & Sara Schiller, 2010, Tashen
Buy on Amazon
 

A huge book (almost like an encyclopedia) from the Schiller family, who opened super famous worldwide website WoosterCollective.com.

Here the Authors present not just traditional Street Artists, but more different projects from Uncommissioned Urban Art. Good examples inside: John Fekner, Paolo Buggiani, Gordon Matta Klark, etc.

 

Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now

Katherine A. Bussard, Frazer Ward, Lydia Yee, 2009, Bronx Museum of the Arts
Buy on Amazon
 

Actually this book is catalogue of exhibition and Street Art there is not traditional. It presents a few urban projects from 60s, which for sure inspired contemporary Street Artists.

No Banksy, Shepard Fairy and another super famous Street Artists inside. Just revolutionary and avant garde practices from Fluxus, Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconchi, Valli Export and other artists from the 60s.

 

Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art

Patrick Nguyen, Stuart Mackenzie, 2010, Gestalten
Buy on Amazon
 

We never read this book and we don't like marketing style of 'The 100 Leading...', but actually this work inspire us, because a lot of our favorite artists are in here and it is important to know more about movement from insiders.

 

 

 

Urban Interventions: Personal Projects in Public Places

Robert Klanten, Matthias Hubner, 2010, Gestalten
Buy on Amazon
 

We really like this book, because here is good describe new 'wave' of Street Art – Urban Interventions. Also for us this book is good source of inspiration for doing something in the street.

Not a lot of text inside, but we like some projects there from our favorite artist like as Harmen de Hoop, Brad Downey, the Wa and media activist-group 'the Yes Men'.

 

 

Also we want to mark few another 'must read' publishing about Street Art: Trilogy from Tristan Manco (Stencil Graffiti, Brazilian Graffiti and Street Logos); Subway Art by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper; Pixação: São Paulo Signature (today this book just is collection edition, so expensive) by Francois Chastanet.

 

Russian books/magazines about Graffiti and Street Art.

We don't have thematic publishing too much. We have just a few attempts at representing movement in Russia. For example in 2001 was published first colored and small (24 pages) magazine 'Spray It' and 2 years later was published great catalogue 'Ulitsa' («Улица» – the Street, translated from Russian). Later, this magazine was transformed to new publishing – Code Red Magazine, which was focused on Russian graffiti scene with a lot of high quality works and interviews. Code Red was published till 2010 and now is a website about the worldwide Graffiti and Street Art scene.

 

Also we had another few magazines of thematic Graffiti in Russia: 'Iron Curtain' (2006–2009), who focused on trains and metro, 'Urban Roots' (2006–2012), who focused on writing. Authors of Russian magazines tried just to show current situation with trends/styles in local Graffiti without analysis and systematic of this term. We did don't like this situation and in 2005 started new publishing project – 'Objects' books.

 

'Objects' book

Igor Ponosov, Andrey Tseluiko, 2005–2009, 'Indexmarket' Publishing.
Watch for free on Website.

'Objects' books – it was first try to analyse and to show new form of Graffiti from Post-Soviet countries.

In 2005 we tried to publish kind of fanzine without money/sponsors not just for representation of movement, but more for analyse, develop and support local scene. We collected a lot of interesting projects from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Till 2009 we published 3 books and organized few exhibitions, we really felt changes. It was great time, but in 2009 Street Art in Russia was mainstream, we were scare about it and we drop all our initiatives. We organized event, kind of Burial of Russian Street Art with dramatic music and manifestation: 'Russian Street Art is dead'.

 

Actually today situation is same: Russian Street Art again is totally mainstreamed, but not only for commercial brands – also for political parties and government. People having a lot of Urban Art festival in Russia, but art works just decorative, propaganda or just for getting money.

Sadly, today only we are trying to look critical on Russian Urban Art, and too many local Street Artists/Curators/Media just represent events/projects without analyse and doing just nice nonsense Art in Public Spaces. It's too sad because today is complicated time for social/political changes here and non-commissioned Art can be useful tool for that.

Now we declare for start of working for write new book about Urban Art phenomenon, where we are going to show connections between Street Art and different protest movements. Also we want to show some ways of developing of Worldwide Urban Culture and commercialization and institutionalization processes.