Books

Le Langage Du Mer?

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Graffiti Brassaï: Le Langage Du Mur

As an Englishman my ability to speak any language except my own is severely limited. So when I first picked up Graffiti Brassaï: Le Langage Du Mur I was a bit puzzled how graffiti could be the language of the sea? I quickly realised my mistake! In fact this is the first serious art-historical study of Brassaï’s Graffiti photography series. Researched by the curator Karolina Ziebinska-Lewandowska the book sheds light on the artist Brassaï and graffiti as his subject. Continue Reading

Changing the Urban Wallpaper

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Advertising Shits In Your HeadAdvertising Shits in Your Head is a new handy pocket guide to modern advertising and, more importantly, how it can be subverted. Published by Dog Section Press just last year it has already run into a second edition. The book’s title was originally used in an article by a certain Bill Posters where he attacks advertisers who surreptitiously “shit in your head”. Expanding on this Advertising Shits in Your Head discusses why advertising should be regarded as such a problem and how it can be tackled effectively. The publishers tell me the book is “intended as a call to arms against the outdoor advertising industry particularly, and capitalism generally. It’s also an exploration of the origins of the modern day, international subvertising movement, and a guide to some of the theory and practice underpinning it.” Continue Reading

Graffiti and the State in East Asia

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Aestheticizing Public SpaceThis latest post reviews Aestheticizing Public Space by Lu Pan which was released at the end of last year. The book studies graffiti in cities around East Asia; that is Hong Kong, China, Japan and South Korea. Lu Pan works with a broad definition of graffiti that includes everything from conventional graffiti letters, street-art, digital media and even traditional East Asian writing practices. Continue Reading

The Philosophy of Muralism

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Time for MuralsI recently got sent a copy of a book called Time for Murals. The book was published after a conference, organised by the artist Jens Besser, that took place a couple of years ago on the subject of the “contemporary phenomenon” that are urban murals. Now murals aren’t my usual area of interest but in my home town of London there are a few cool murals dating from the late seventies and eighties that I really like. The sort of murals that I see going up nowadays all seem to be large scale pieces of street-art rather than the community focused and often politicised murals that came before. Continue Reading

From wall to paper

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What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify?I got What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? on a recommendation and from the title expected it to be some kind of very serious academic work. In fact it is more like graffiti meets Flann O’Brien and it’s fucking hilarious. The book, by Dumar Novy, is a monograph on the tag ‘Ja’ and the academic discipline of ‘Jaism’ that it has now spawned. I read it as a sort of parody of intellectualism that delves into race, religion, gentrification, the police, Darwinism, genocide, philosophy, capitalism and bum sex. Continue Reading