Photographs of Graffiti Murals Document the Very Best of NYC Street Art
(University Press of Mississippi, hardback, $40.00)
Text by Isabel Bau Madden; Foreword by Stefan Eins
Fifteen years ago on New Year’s Day, a mural in the Lower East Side of Manhattan stopped photographer Peter Rosenstein in his tracks. It wasn’t just the colors or the message against injustice and violence that captivated him.
“As I stood back and admired the color and composition,” Rosenstein writes in the preface to his new book Tattooed Walls (University Press of Mississippi), “I could not help but lament the transient nature of the murals.”
Ever since, Peter Rosenstein has been scouting the boroughs of New York City to photograph the very best graffiti murals. His curiosity and energy, along with his extraordinary ability to capture the essence of the murals, has resulted in nearly two thousand color images and an unparalleled documentation of an art which very often is destroyed. Tattooed Walls features over one hundred photographs from Rosenstein’s expeditions to the Bronx, Harlem, Spanish Harlem, the Lower East Side, the East Village and Brooklyn.
Who got up? PART, REVOLT, SMITH, IZ THE WIZ, FUZZ ONE, JAMESTOP, T-KID 170, TRACY 168, EZO, PC KID, DAZE, COPE2, BIO, NICER, BG 183, NIC 1, SERVE, CRASH, PINK, PER, CHICO, NOMAD, Andre Charles, DE LA VEGA, SLOAN, Hulbert Waldroup, Wanda Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, LEE, FREEDOM, SES, RAZ, KENN, SOZE, NOSM, MAZE, PEAK, CYCLE, MUSE, OH, SONIC, KOOL CAT, CAINE 1, Stefano, MARK BODE, PEYTON, WARM, FREE5, EWOK, RIOT, PFUNK, DEZ, BRING, Art Guerrero, Richard Haas, WEN, MUZE, JEW, PSYCHO, SANE, AD, TATS CRU, FX CRU, TDS and more! Tattoed Walls also memorializes pieces from The Graffiti Hall of Fame.
The contemporary urban murals in Tattooed Walls depict a wide range of the human condition. They celebrate life; they mourn death; they express religious devotion; they are a communication medium for gang rivalries; they assert political opinions; and some simply bring a splash of color to a drab neighborhood wall. Down the block from vibrant spray-can creations are trompe l’oeil murals, a centuries-old technique meant to deceive the eye.
Tattooed Walls includes a brief interview with artist and political activist De La Vega whose territory is Spanish Harlem, and a commentary from the artist Chico. It also features a foreword by artist and gallery owner Stefan Eins, who was one of the first in the broader art world to recognize and promote graffiti art.
In addition to searching out new murals around New York, Peter Rosenstein is a periodontist and an avid jazz trumpet player. Isabel Bau Madden is an Argentine-born journalist, actress, and art director for numerous films who has lived in New York City since 1963. Her work has been published in the New York Observer, France-Amerique, and the Buenos Aires Herald, among other periodicals.
*Cover art shown above by PC KID and NICER.