Books in the MCL: KUNSTFORUM International Vol. 260, May-June 2019

  • by Anne Schmedding

In June 1982, KUNSTFORUM International devoted an entire volume to the subject of graffiti (vol. 50 “Wilde Bilder. Graffiti und Wandbilder”). At the time, the vague term encompassed both ancient commemorative writings, political murals, facade art, ironic slogans, and several other forms of partly illegal interventions in urban space. Classic graffiti writing, which has characterized the New York cityscape for a decade and has existed in similar forms in Philadelphia and Los Angeles since the 1960s, is mentioned rather casually with three photos and half a page of text. In the months that followed, however, Writing would be carried into Western societies worldwide through films and books and mature into a global movement.


After 37 years, graffiti is once again the overarching theme of the art magazine in May 2019. But this time, what is meant by the title is more clearly defined: writing based on the New York model and, if applicable, art that emerges from it. Thus Writing is not lexically explained and a glossary of scene terms enclosed, but Larissa Kikol gathers big and small names of the scene and gives a status quo of graffiti in Central Europe.


From an art historical perspective, selected actors are introduced and their work is analyzed and classified. These include CLINT176 (Berlin), SAEIO (Paris), SUSIE (Berlin) and HAMS (Marseille). However, the cities of Berlin as a stylistic melting pot of the contemporary scene and Munich as a comprehensively documented example of early European work in the early 1980s are also portrayed. A more comprehensive definition of the concept of graffiti (urban marketing and urban art) is covered in the text by Robert Kaltenhäuser and Georg Barringhaus.


In addition, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, RAP, 1UP and graffiti lawyer Dr. Patrick Gau, as well as MOSES & TAPS™ provide insight into their work in extensive interviews.

Photos: Steffen Köhler     Text: Sascha Blasche

Find the book in the MCL.