Graffiti Art

“Graffiti Art: (It., scratched) Beginning in the 1970s with the availability of aerosol spray paints, illegal graffiti statements and designs began to coat New York subway cars. Whereas political art took art from inside galleries and into the streets, the graffiti are movement appropriated this element of street culture and brought it into the elite world of New York art galleries. There, untrained artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat enjoyed brief recognition, while Keith Haring’s self-conscious use of the style made him its most famous proponent. Once in the galleries, however, graffiti art lost its element of illegal performance, its power as protest, and its context. Neutralized, it became fashion and quickly went out of style.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

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