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Rachel Fawn Alban_Untapped Cities_New York_April 2014_Moving Murals Exhibit_Graffiti_Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper1

Henry Chalfant’s train photographs

Art on the streets is a vital component of New York City culture, and it was never more prominent than in the late 1970s and early 80s – a period which is now regarded as the “Golden Age of Graffiti.” During that time, photographers Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper famously documented the subculture of the graffiti movement and its vibrant art works, which were spray painted on the trains and on the streets. These photographs are currently on view at City Lore‘s exhibition: Moving Murals: Henry Chalfant & Martha Cooper’s All-City Graffiti Archive.

Moving Murals features Henry Chalfant’s photographs of graffiti-covered subway trains and Martha Cooper’s portraits of the artists, who were young teenagers at the time.  Approximately 840 of Henry Chalfant’s train photographs are displayed as a mosaic which lines the wall of the gallery. This installation has great impact, and we had fun exploring the colorful murals.  Meanwhile, a selection of Martha Cooper’s portraits of the artists offers viewers a rare glimpse into the rail yards where graffiti writers would practice their craft.

Rachel Fawn Alban_Untapped Cities_New York_April 2014_Moving Murals Exhibit_Graffiti_Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper

Henry Chalfant’s train photographs

Approximately 840 of Henry Chalfant's train photographs are displayed as a mosaic

Henry Chalfant’s train photographs

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Martha Cooper’s portraits of the artists in their element.

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Moving Murals runs April 3 through July 10, 2014 at City Lore, located at 56 E 1st Street.

In conjunction with the exhibit, City Lore has some  interesting public programs coming up, including film screenings, artist talks and more.  The event series kicks off tonight, Thursday, April 17th at 7pm with a double feature screening of Style Wars I & II, and a Q&A during intermission with Henry Chalfant, who produced the original film, now a classic.  More information on this and the rest of the program series can be found here.

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Photos line the walls of the gallery space.

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Martha Cooper’s photo of artists Revolt and Sharp at work.

Get in touch with the author at Rachel Fawn Alban or on facebook.

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