New York’s graffiti scene is more prized than ever before, especially with rumblings of the legendary 5Pointz’s comeback. Small businesses and arts-focused nonprofits commission muralists to spray-paint works easily accessible and appealing to all. Walking tours around localized street art collectives constantly sell out, predominantly for how good the vivid colors will pop on visitors’ social grids. And there’s even micro-museums dedicated to the art form, albeit in off-kilter but true-to-form locales. Behind each eye-popping work, though, are the underlying stories of the artists who paved the way for those thriving today.
“Beyond the Streets,” a massive multimedia exhibition spanning two floors of the industrial creative hub 25 Kent, tells the often-untold tales of the original street artists. WSWD was recently given an intimate look inside the history of the barrier-breaking movement, from the city’s first graffiti crews tagging their way across uptown Manhattan and the MTA system to highbrow/lowbrow artists like Takashi Murakami and Shepard Fairey taking their wild imaginations and talents worldwide.
Photos by Sayaka Ueno