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Other titles in the Popular Cultures, Everyday Lives series:
Taking the Train: How Graffiti Art Became an Urban Crisis in New York City (Popular Cultures, Everyday Lives)by Joe Austin
Synopses & Reviews
Traces the history of graffiti in New York City against the backdrop of the struggle that developed between the city and the writers.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, young people in New York City radically altered the tradition of writing their initials on neighborhood walls. Influenced by the widespread use of famous names on billboards, in neon, in magazines, newspapers, and typographies from advertising and comics, city youth created a new form of expression built around elaborately designed names and initials displayed on public walls, vehicles, and subways. Critics called it graffiti, but to the practitioners it was writing.
Taking the Train traces the history of writing in New York City against the backdrop of the struggle that developed between the city and the writers. Austin tracks the ways in which writing — a small, seemingly insignificant act of youthful rebellion — assumed crisis-level importance inside the bureaucracy and the public relations of New York City mayoral administrations and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for almost two decades. Taking the Train reveals why a global city short on funds made wiping out graffiti an expensive priority while other needs went unfunded. Although the city eventually took back the trains, Austin eloquently shows how and why the culture of writing survived to become an international art movement and a vital part of hip-hop culture.
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