Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 November 2019
Art and drawings on walls have existed for long time in Italy. It is an anthropological phenomenon whose millennial existence is confirmed by the rock paintings in the Camonica Valley in North Italy as well as the engravings on the Colosseum in Rome and on the walls of Pompeii.
The first Italian publications documenting art in the street are the works “Graffiti a New York” published in 1978 by Andrea Nelli, a university dissertation offering a clear and detailed analysis of the thriving New York writing culture of that era; and ‘Arte di Frontiera’ by art critic and researcher Francesca Alinovi, published in 1982 in the Flash Art magazine, and documenting the kids with spraycans from the poverty-stricken neighbourhoods of the city, about their impudence, their energy, and the way a new lettering-based art was created and developing fast. In 1984, the (then) Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna completes the innovative research by Alinovi (who in the meantime had been killed in a mysterious murder case) and organises ‘New York Graffiti’, one of the first European exhibitions entirely dedicated to graffiti artists like Futura 2000, Lady Pink, Daze and Toxic.
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