Taking the Train How Graffiti Art Became an Urban Crisis in New York City

ISBN-10: 0231111436
ISBN-13: 9780231111430
Edition: 2002
Authors: Joe Austin
List price: $38.00 Buy it from $10.00
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $38.00
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 1/9/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

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.

Cholly Atkins has been a jazz dance artist, choreographer, and director of stage acts for decades. He has been honored by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many dance organizations.Jacqui Malone, who began interviewing Cholly Atkins in 1988, was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship to write this book. Author of Steppin'on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance,she is a professor of drama, theater, and dance at Queens College.Joe Austin, assistant professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, is coeditor of Generations of Youth: Youth and Youth Cultures in the 20th Century.

Prologue
A Tale of Two Cities
Taking the Trains: The Formation and Structure of "Writing Culture" in the Early 1970s
Writing "Graffiti" in the Public Sphere: The Construction of Writing as an Urban Problem
Repainting the Trains: The New York School of the 1970s
The State of the Subways: The Transit Crisis, the Aesthetics of Fear, and the Second "War on Graffiti"
Writing Histories
Retaking the Trains
The Walls and the World: Writing Culture, 1982-1990
Conclusion: A Spot on the Wall
Sources from Writers
Notes
Selected Bibligraphy
Acknowledgments
Index

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