Published by Damiani. Text by Franklin Sirmans, Isolde Brielmaier, Bisa Butler, William Cordova, Futura, Debbie Harry, Leslie Hewitt, Jenny Holzer, Barry McGee, Odili Donald Odita, José Parlá, Allan Schwartzman. Photographs by Charlie Ahearn, Edo Bertoglio, Carl Brunn, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Eric Felisbret, Bobby Grossman, Sue Kwon, Jason Mandella, Farrique Pesquera, Adam Reich, Chris Stein, Mattius J. Sic.
This volume presents a sweeping overview of the monumental work of Puerto Rican–born artist Lee Quiñones over the past five decades. When Quiñones made his first spray paint mural in the New York City subway system, he was just 14 years old. He eventually spray-painted murals on over 120 subway cars, infusing kinetic elements of Futurism into his illustrations. These highly visible graffiti works served as a catalyst for what is now acknowledged as the Street Art movement. Indeed, the artist introduced spray-paint-based work to international audiences upon his first formal exhibition, and he also invented the concept of the freestanding urban mural through his handball court piece, Howard the Duck (1978). This book is chock-full of Quiñones’ street art works, paintings and drawings, underscoring the poetic social commentary the artist has incorporated throughout his formal evolutions. Pairing high-resolution images of his works with thoughtful scholarship, the monograph traces his influence on peers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and David Wojnarowicz. An abundance of archival photographs capture the gritty, vibrant New York City of Quiñones’ early career. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1960, and raised in the Lower East Side, Lee Quiñones is considered the single most influential artist to emerge from the New York subway art movement. In 1980, Quiñones had his first New York show at White Columns, ushering in an important era as the medium of spray paint expanded from public spaces to stationary canvas works.