Nonfiction — print. Taschen, 2010. 320 pgs. Borrowed from my uncle.
My uncle has one of the largest, most eclectic collection of coffee table books I’ve ever seen. He told me during my most recent visit to his place that he actually doesn’t purchase the books for their content but rather for how well they match the decor. To each there own, I guess.
Subtitled “A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art”, this book examines the rise and global reach of graffiti or urban art, if you are so inclined to call it. The book includes large colorful photographs of these unsanctioned works of art but is rarely accompanied by an explanation of what the picture or sign or words mean.
Perhaps that was my biggest complaint about the book. I didn’t always “get” what the artist was trying to say and some of the “art” really leaned towards the side of urban blight for me. Some of the artwork, particularly that in section entitled “Magical Thinking”, was just too out there for me.
I did, however, love the sections on urban art that makes political statements and the range the book includes. There’s pictures from the wall in Israel-Palestine and a picture asking if women have to get naked to be included in the Met. (Less than 5 percent of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women but 85 percent of the nudes are female). Certainly worth a perusal.