Nearly Forty years after his seminal book “Getting Up: Subway Graffiti In New York” was released, Craig Castleman is touring Spain to talk about a huge update to the story. Originally published by MIT press, it became a cult book for the graffiti/street art subculture and a bibliographic reference in the academic field.
”When the city designed the subway system they made some bad choices on colors. … If the subways were painted nice, it would make a lot of people very happy,” graffiti writer LEE is quoted from this book in the New York Times review of this 1982 release by the teacher, who had been at the High School of Art and Design, presumably with many of the young artists he researches.
An early academic record of the lively and controversial New York graffiti scene that thrilled and flummoxed the city during the previous decade, Castleman featured interviews and observations by important foundational names like Bama, Tracy 168, Phase 2, Futura 2000, and Iz the Wiz at a time when few valued their opinions.
This month, as a result of a joint initiative by INDAGE, the Spanish Association of researchers and disseminators of graffiti and urban art, and Contorno Urbano Foundation, Castleman’s visionary study is going on tour for a series of lectures and round tables in cities including Hospitalet, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Granada and Madrid.
The events focus on the important contributions of the author and academic to the canon of early graffiti history. In addition he’ll be promoting an expanded volume that builds on that highly valued original book entitled “Get up again: Forty years later”. It features 160 previously unpublished photographs from the golden age of New York graffiti, a phenomenon many say Castleman first helped define and globalize.
The tour is now underway, and if you would like to support it (maybe it can travel further through Europe or the US), please check out the Kickstarter HERE .