Soho Walls: Beyond Graffiti

David Robinson, Author Thames & Hudson $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-500-27602-0
Robinson, a former community organizer, spent 10 years photographing the graffiti, posters and stencil art slapped down helter-skelter on outdoor surfaces of Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. As he writes in the book's mostly gratuitous introduction, ``Nowhere else are there walls so full of creative and original art.'' The 85 vivid color reproductions here are in general a compelling visual record. Although he does not look at graffiti from a sociological perspective, Robinson shows how form, hue and texture enliven city streets. Some of the images are delicate compositions in soft colors, like the small pink figure holding an umbrella stenciled onto a crumbling white door panel. Others are arresting: crude Day-Glo faces; words or pictures spray-painted on dirty brick walls. Crazy scribblings; theater posters; painted bats, witches and dogs; personal manifestos, political statements--all are game for Robinson's lens. And signs of transformation became an appealing part of his work. In one picture the torn edges of a poster ripple like waves. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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