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Subway Art

The following blog post was written by Sara Croft, Print Room Intern. She worked out of the Registration Department which is part of the Collection Support Division of the IMA.

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s book “Subway Art,”  I have started to think about the placement of subway and graffiti art in Indianapolis.  One of my most recent findings –one that will be familiar to many that make the work commute on Keystone Avenue, are the two interesting designs at the top of the Keystone Towers.  I could not help but notice it when I drove by the building the other day, which made me wonder how many other fellow city goers think about the graffiti or let it pass them by without being introduced.

Check out street art in Indianapolis (image from obakadan)

Check out street art in Indianapolis (image from obakadan)

One of my favorite artists started out drawing in the subways of New York.  Keith Haring’s  images are almost iconic now, so how does he relate to the contemporary artists who do everything to keep from being noticed as to not be arrested? Whether they stay invisible to the press like Banksy, or keep their career ever changing under different names, one can only help but wonder if graffiti would have a place within a museum. iMOCA has recently taken on this task with its interactive graffiti exhibition.  Some cities have attempted “graffiti parks” to contain the art within the park and not the alleyways and private properties of businesses and homes. In large cities, graffiti becomes a part of the culture and in some ways define it, and in my opinion gives full reason as to why the art should be preserved.

Yet as the mystery behind the graffiti and the artists makes the art so fascinating to me, I will keep to searching in the nooks and cranny’s around Indianapolis while hoping that you avid readers will share your own graffiti hot spots and stories of inspiration.

Filed under: Art

3 Responses to “Subway Art”

  • avatar
    Elliott Shoemaker Says:

    hey, yeah i totally agree that graffiti no doubt deserves a spot in museums i mean graffiti is basically a memento of the thoughts and feelings of artists that strive to show a message not for money. I myself have pursued graffiti but only being 19 i feel i have more important things to do right now, i plan on finishing school and then progressing my graffiti feats, and rebellious career. I feel subway art is the best that goes unnoticed.

  • avatar
    Plainfield Says:

    I would love to have known that there even was an exhibit at that time, the failing of Indianapolis is that there isnt ANY sort of advertisment, or what have you, for anything amazingly cultural until the very last minute. Its almost as if Indy actually tries to discourage the average citizen to interact with the art world.

  • avatar
    6cents Says:

    I think the ‘failing’ mentioned above has more to do with the nature of graffiti. Graffiti is and will always be a folk art form. it just isn’t designed for the consumption of non-members because we do it for ourselves. Graffiti is not a career; murals, design, illustration, performance and other art forms are. It’s highly debatable whether it’s even art (and while we’re on the topic, Keith Haring’s work does not represent the actual art form of graffiti in any way-only the act). We write our names because we like it, if one of us can shape that into a career, all the better. People often mistakenly assume that we are elusive because we haven’t caught the right break. The truth is we are elusive because we want to be. Part of the fun is choosing your audience. And, having been published in numerous print and web media, I can honestly say that the mainstream media is the wrong place for graffiti because they always misrepresent it. The culture is my audience and it’s always on the rise.

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