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‘City as Canvas’ at the Museum of the City of New York

2/13/2014, 12:24 p.m.
The Museum of the City of New York is currently showing “City as Canvas: Art From the Martin Wong Collection,”
Lady Pink, “The Death of Graffiti,” 1982. Acrylic on masonite. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Martin Wong.

The Museum of the City of New York is currently showing “City as Canvas: Art From the Martin Wong Collection,” the first exhibition of the treasure trove of 1970s and ’80s graffiti art amassed by artist and pioneering collector Martin Wong, who donated the entire collection to the museum in 1994.

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Lee Quiñones, “Howard the Duck,” 1988. Oil on canvas. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Martin Wong.

The exhibition features seminal paintings and “black book” sketches by Daze (Christopher Ellis), Dondi (Donald White), Futura 2000 (Leonard McGurr), Keith Haring, Lady Pink (Sandra Fabara), Lee (Lee Quiñones), Rammellzee, Sharp (Aaron Goodstone), Zephyr (Andrew Witten) and many more New York graffiti artists, as well as photographs by Charlie Ahearn, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper and others that show the era’s graffiti-covered subways and buildings. “City as Canvas” opened Tuesday, Feb. 4 and will remain on view until Sunday, Aug. 24.

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Sane Smith, “Untitled, ca.,” 1989. Ink on paper. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Martin Wong.

“City as Canvas” explores the cultural phenomenon of New York City graffiti art, beginning with historical photographs of graffiti long erased from subways and buildings, and delving into paintings and sketchbooks collected by Wong (1946-1999).

For more information, visit www.mcny.org/content/city-canvas.