In the early 1980s, New York is the epicentre of the graffiti and street art scenes, from which a global cultural revolution emanates. In the middle of it all is Swiss art historian and lawyer Thomas Christ with his camera.
He follows the painted subways into the Bronx to photograph them and meets young sprayers there who want to escape the precarious conditions: They join together to form criminal gangs, which, however, do not strive for money but for fame. After his return, Christ presented the precise pictures and his lucid reflections on the background of illegal graffiti in the publication "Subway Graffiti" (1984) and in an exhibition in the Basel Museum of Applied Arts. He is thus one of the few to provide visual material for the pioneers of the Swiss hip-hop scene.
Shortly afterwards, in the follow-up publication "Urban Graffiti" (1987), Christ also deals with the work of Richard Hambleton and Keith Haring, making him one of the first to address the relationship and difference between graffiti and street art: In contrast to subway graffiti, the artistic appropriation of public space here takes place with the knowledge of art as an operating system.
Der Basler new publication brings together and expands on these two contemporary documents about a crucial high phase of graffiti and street art in New York in one volume. "Instant Recognition" includes "Subway Graffiti" and "Urban Graffiti", supplemented by never-before-seen images and documents from Thomas Christ's private archive. In a new text and an interview, Christ looks back on the events of the time and tells of his memories and impressions.
- Subway/Urban Graffiti. New York/Basel 82/83
- Editors: Thierry Furger and Rémi Jaccard
- Images and texts: Thomas Christ
- Design: Thierry Furger
- Interview with Thomas Christ: Rémi Jaccard
- 400 pages
- Format 280 x 240 mm
- various texts and interviews (in English only)
- 328 illustrations of which approx. 200 unpublished illustrations
- Published by Thierry Furger and Rémi Jaccard and Nonstop Publishing
- ISBN 978-3-033-09702-5