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History of graffiti and street art: the 1980s and the 1990s

History of graffiti and street art: the 1980s


1980s - São Paulo - Rise of the pixação movement 

1980s - Berlin - The Berlin Wall becomes a popular painting spot for national and international street artists, among whom Thierry Noir and Keith Haring 


1981 - Paris - Blek Le Rat hits the streets with his stencils 

1981 - The Washington Post (November 16th) publishes an article by Joyce Wadler titled ‘Graffiti: learn to appreciate it’ 

1981 - New York - PS1 organizes the exhibition ‘New York / New Waves’ 


1982 - New York - Keith Haring paints his first large-scale public work on the Houston Bowery Wall, previously a graffiti hall of fame. Many street artists have since created murals on the same wall, turning it into an iconic street art spot in New York 

1982 - Europe - The New York City Rap Tour (the first international hip hop tour) featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Fab 5 Freddy, the Rock Steady Crew and others travels to London and Paris. American writers Dondi, Phase II and Futura 2000 accompany the breakers and the MCs by painting on stage 

1982 - Release of Charlie Ahearn’s film ‘Wild Style’

1982 - Futura 2000 tours with the British music band The Clash


1983 - Paris - Bando starts painting graffiti; he is the first writer in Paris  

1983 - New York - Publication of the first volume of the International Graffiti Times; the first graffiti fanzine ever, founded by Schmidlapp

1983 - USA - Release of Tony Silver’s documentary film Style Wars  

1983 - Amsterdam - Artworks by American graffiti writers Seen, Blade, Futura 2000 and Dondi are exhibited at the Yaki Kornblit gallery


1984 - Publication of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s highly influential photography book Subway Art 


1985 - Birth of CTK (Crime Time Kings), the first international graffiti crew, formed by writers from London, Paris, Amsterdam and the USA


1989 - New York - Trains are cleaned before they run; writers eventually lose interests in painting trains

1989 - Berlin - Demolition of the Berlin Wall 


History of graffiti and street art: the 1990s


1990s - New York - KAWS starts subvertising billboards, bus shelters and phone boots


1991 - Los Angeles - Graffiti writer Haze founds the first street wear brand (clothing and accessory) 

1991 - Europe - The Interrail movement is born; train bombing becomes common all around Europe as writers travel from one city to another with the interrail pass


1994 - Susan Farrell creates the first graffiti website called ‘Art Crimes: The Writing on the Wall’; a gallery of graffiti art from cities around the world. It also features a calendar of graffiti events, graffiti articles and interviews and links to other graffiti websites as they appear online 


1997 - Wiesbaden - First edition of the graffiti jam ‘Meeting of Styles’; which subsequently spreads around world


1998 - Paris - Invader starts installing his ceramic tile mosaics with pixel art modeled on the of 8-bit video games  


1999 - KAWS makes his first toy (Companion), a vinyl figure of Mickey Mouse with X-ed out eyes