Art Without Asking
September 20, 2010 12:11 AM   Subscribe

"Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art," a lovely looking guide to street art activations published by Taschen and soon to be released on the masses.

Taschen provides us with a 100 page, flash-powered sneak peek (not all images safe for work).

Curated by Marc and Sara Schiller of the Wooster Collective.
posted by artof.mulata (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

what are some other really good books on this type of art -- not necessarily tagging, but public art that people just run into? this stuff is really interesting.
posted by victory_laser at 1:26 AM on September 20, 2010

doesnt have to be books. just want to learn more yaddidamean?
posted by victory_laser at 2:03 AM on September 20, 2010

Taschen truly does produce the greatest art books. If I had no budgetary considerations, I'd spend tens of thousands on Taschen books.

I teach art. The quickest way to get teenagers engaged in the class in to introduce a graffiti project. This book helps:

posted by Hickeystudio at 2:51 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]
posted by Hickeystudio at 2:51 AM on September 20, 2010

Taschen is a dream come true. I'd love to see a case study of their rise, and their ongoing business plan. How do they make money? (On the subject of graffitti and tagging, it's establishment and international spread has been one of America's ugliest cultural crimes. Every city in the world is now covered with this pox. Norman Mailer and the other patronizing elitists who simpered over subway graffitti in the early 70s bear some of the blame. But all authorities who tolerated, tolerate or support graffitti in any way should think about who suffers the most from this crime: the poor. I'm against the death penalty in real life, but in my imagination, I deal it out regularly to the selfish little creeps who still tag. Taschen, alas, has now made itself part of the problem.)
posted by Faze at 3:39 AM on September 20, 2010

Inreresting discussion previously.

Also, this page provides a "special visual 'leaf-through' of the book".
posted by aqsakal at 3:49 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

you dont say.
posted by the cuban at 4:02 AM on September 20, 2010

Faze: Taschen's business model is, as far as I know, unique. Its ultra-limited-editions, which retail for hundreds and thousands of pounds, generate the prestige, publicity and cash up front to support the high-volume, low-margin books like £5.99 monographs. Some Taschenites left the company recently to set up their own publishing house (Fiell), so we'll see if the model can be duplicated.

There's some more history and detail in this old interview I did with Benedikt Taschen.

Taschen is, incidentally, one of the nicest and most interesting men I have ever had the pleasure to meet - it's my lasting regret that I never really communicated that in the written interview, which is a little dry and uninsightful.
posted by WPW at 5:28 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Although many of the names are familiar, there are some I'm not familiar with -- looking forward to checking out their work. The images in the sneak peek link are amazing.
posted by rottytooth at 6:38 AM on September 20, 2010

Do not believe WPW; his 2009 interview with Benedikt Taschen is anything but uninsightful:

Taschen has made a career out of his enthusiasms. An avid collector of comic books, he opened a comic shop in his home town of Cologne in 1980, when he was still a teenager. In 1983, he bought a stock of 40,000 remaindered books about Dutch surrealist painter Rene Magritte, and resold them for a tasty profit, a move that convinced him that there was more money in art books than there was in comics. Rather than buying more remainders, he began to commission his own, starting with an edition on Dalí. By 1988 titles on architecture and furniture design were added to the range. Now, the Basic Architecture range of monographs contains dozens of full-colour books for £5.99 each. Architectural publishers have been forced to compete. "Others, including us, have had to copy them," says the editorial director of one UK architectural publisher, who adds that a title that they sold at £30 20 years ago couldn't be sold at the same price today, thanks to Taschen.

And the accompanying photo is hilariously revealing of Taschen's personality. He also shows up briefly near the end of the recent (and very good) documentary Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman; I remember thinking, "I guess I shouldn't be surprised but he seems like a really nice guy."

I do wonder if the low-end books really need to be supported by the high-end "moon rock" projects; they seem to sell quickly and most of my friends have them around the house. My guess is the low-end stuff covers costs and a bit of profit just fine.
posted by mediareport at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2010

I'm against the death penalty in real life, but in my imagination, I deal it out regularly to the selfish little creeps who still tag.

I agree, Sony and Adidas must be stopped!

I have mixed feelings on graffiti. I cringe when I see trees and stone walls, and murals tagged up, but huge, drab walls? They're practically asking for it! In cities where quickly pasted posters for upcoming events or authorized advertising space already assults the senses, what's the harm in tagging? More visual noise? Cities are not pristine places of order and architecture alone. People live there, too.

Also, the Street Logos website reminded me of my brief time in Brazil, where I was really impressed by the artisticness of the graffiti there. There were some hasty "handle" tags, someone's personal mark, but so much was art - more than "I was here," walls were public galleries. This means nothing but a personal expression to an uninformed passer-by.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:21 AM on September 20, 2010

@ victory_laser -- Street Art on Harry Abrams

Or just trudge through the old wooster collective archives...they were close to being the first source on documenting the stuff (
posted by lslelel at 10:48 AM on September 20, 2010

having affordable art books is great, but there was always something that bugged me about their advertisement reproductions and even 'design object' collections like chairs...great pub house though
posted by lslelel at 10:50 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

When the beige square gang obliterates street art that someone worked on for hours, they insure that the only graffiti left is hasty tags. Beige square is gang activity, ugly boring squares claiming their territory with their ugly boring marks on walls once decorated with the color and excitement of urban life.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:23 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's a non-stick anti-graffiti paint available (there's some on a wall near my apartment, and it feels a bit greasy to the touch). I was thinking it would be fun to do some graffiti with it, and laugh at the efforts of the Beige Square Gang to tag over it.

A couple of years ago the Beige Squares tagged over a cartoon that had decorated a bridge abutment for more than 25 years. I keep thinking about trying to restore it. I suspect I could clean the cheap latex they used off without damaging the more durable oil-based paint below. But they'd probably just tag over it again. I see there are anti-graffiti clear coats, perhaps one of those could do the job.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:29 PM on September 20, 2010

The book arrived today.
it's huge and fantastic and an eff-ton of fun.
if you were wondering if it's a worthy purchase i don't think it would be a bad idea.
it's definitely nicer than a lot of volumes i've picked up over the years on street art.
posted by artof.mulata at 3:49 PM on October 15, 2010

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