cover image The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti

The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti

Rafael Schacter. Yale Univ., $35 (400p) ISBN 978-0-300-19942-0

Curator Schacter offers a stunning survey of artists known for their nonsanctioned public work in this concisely written, yet comprehensive volume. Collaborating with street artists and curators, writers, and art historians, the author situates 113 artists in 50 cities, highlighting the importance of environment and global artistic exchange. Each profile speaks to a unique art practice: collage, name-based wall graffiti, monumental installations, subway and boxcar art, and digitally projected images, among others. To emphasize the tension between high and low art, as well as between mainstream and underground culture, the artists selected also vary in terms of their visibility and commercial success. Famed L.A. artist Shepard Fairey (creator of the Obama Hope image) receives as much analysis as the Montreal boxcar painter Jiem and New York underground “conceptual vandal” Katsu. In introductory chapters to each continent and city, Schacter also explores region-based themes, such as local folklore and art collectives. His expertly selected images yield an entertaining, visually varied reading experience. One highlight of the book is its commissioned nontraditional city maps created by 12 of the volume’s profiled artists. This valuable and impressive tome, featuring a foreword by street and multimedia artist John Fekner, provides an informative, consistent, and well-illustrated narrative of a global art phenomenon. 750 color illus. (Sept.)