New York

“Post-Graffiti”

Sidney Janis Gallery

A seductive neologism, this show’s title soon palled, deluding the viewer. Whatever it might have meant of a rupture in stance or sensibility was negated, for “Post-Graffiti,” to judge from the catalogue blurb, denoted a simple shift from subway to canvas, from impermanence to permanence, from the milieu of the street to that of the museum or gallery. It signaled, then, a change in material ground, serving to legally and artistically legitimize what was once “outsider” art. Not that the emergence of graffiti in this spatial and cultural situation is unprecedented, as Keith Haring’s and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s careers and the profusion of group shows attest. But the marketing of this transition as a movement, authenticated by milieu, by support, by catalogue and historical sources —to say nothing of Sidney Janis’ elegant holiday card designed by Crash—smacked of something new. Unhappily, if

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