In the 1960s and the 1970s,
the New York subway system, and the city's doorways and blank walls, became internationally
famous as the breeding ground and blackboard for the most fertile and pervasive
crop of graffiti artists since "Kilroy was here" in the aftermath of
World War ll. It is, perhaps, no accident that in both instances stress and danger
- combat conditions and a certain camaraderie - prevailed.
The graffiti artist, or
"writers as the prefer to be called, graduate at any age between eleven
and sixteen , from the schools and sidewalks to that olympic arena - public transportation.
Enormous media attention has been focused on them. There has been, however,no
unanimity of opinion on their value or on what their presence indicates about
our society. What to one observer seems a healthy artistic outlet for rage, frustration,
and the opportunity to identity in a culture which only "stars" are
admired, is to another the unsightly defacement of public property - a Bronx cheer
at government and authority.
-- from the Intoduction
to Art in Transit
by Henry Geldzahler
| Complete essay.