History of graffiti and street art 1960s 1970s
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History of graffiti and street art: the 1960s and the 1970s

History of graffiti and street art: the 1960s

1967 - Philadelphia - Early tags by Cornbread mark the birth of the graffiti movement

1967 - Philadelphia - Cool Earl uses the arrow as an element in his tags 

1968 - New York - Early tags by Julio 204

1968 - Europe & USA - Large-scale protests by university students; students from the Sorbonne University in Paris and New York’s Columbia University are the first to adopt the visual language of graffiti for their slogans

1969 - New York - Early tags by Taki 183  

1969 - ‘Names, Graffiti and Culture’ (Urban Review, April Issue) by Herbert Kohl is the first scientific article about the graffiti movement 

History of graffiti and street art: the 1970s

1970 - Paris - Daniel Buren goes around flyposting in the Paris, New York and Tokyo metro  – a site-specific project that becomes known as ‘Affichages Sauvages’ 


1971 - New York - Super Kool 223 paints the first masterpiece on a subway train 

1971 - New York - Birth of WC188 (Writers Corner 188), the first graffiti crew 

1971 - New York - The New York Times (July 21st) publishes Charles Don Hogan’s story of Taki183 (‘Taki183 Spawns Pen Pals’) 

1972 - New York - The City College hosts the first graffiti exhibition; it features works by the collective ‘United Graffiti Artists’ 

1972 - New York - Writers begin using stars, asterisks and circles as elements in their tags

1972 - New York - Graffiti has become a political issue and the ‘Anti-Graffiti Bill’ gains council approval, making it illegal to carry aerosol cans into public facilities. Meanwhile, many citizens line up against what is widely regarded as vandalism and help clean up the city

1973 - New York - The collective ‘United Graffiti Artists’ exhibits at the Razor Gallery in SoHo, New York, which makes for the first art gallery show with artworks by graffiti writers

1973 - New York - Writers start painting whole train cars; the first one is done by Flint707

1973 - New York - Choreographer and dancer Twyla Tharps performs on stage with graffiti writers painting in the background 

1974 - Chicago - The collective ‘United Graffiti Artists’ exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry

1975 - New York - The Transit Police Graffiti Squad is constituted and all the subway trains are cleaned

1976 - New York - Writers introduce figurative elements, like characters inspired by comics 

1977 - Europe - Birth of punk graffiti in UK and The Netherlands; punks write slogans, bands’ names and their own nickname on walls

1978 - Paris - Ernest Pignon-Ernest pastes silkscreen portraits of Arthur Rimbaud around the romantic poets’ favorite locales in Paris  

1978 - Publication of the book Graffiti a New York by Andrea Nelli

1979 - Rome - Galleria La Medusa opens ‘The Fabulous Five / Purest Form of New York Art’, the first European art gallery show with artworks by graffiti writers