'Graffiti' Glitters at the Brooklyn Museum

A detail from Poverty, by Kwame Monroe, shows a large blue eye.

A detail from the 1984 graffiti work Poverty, by Kwame Monroe (aka Bear). hide caption

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Akiko "Shiro" Miyakami, a nurse visiting from Shizuoka, Japan, finishes a mural. i i

Akiko "Shiro" Miyakami, a nurse visiting from Shizuoka, Japan, puts the finishing sprays on a legal mural off Grand Central Parkway in Queens, New York. Corey Takahashi hide caption

itoggle caption Corey Takahashi
Akiko "Shiro" Miyakami, a nurse visiting from Shizuoka, Japan, finishes a mural.

Akiko "Shiro" Miyakami, a nurse visiting from Shizuoka, Japan, puts the finishing sprays on a legal mural off Grand Central Parkway in Queens, New York.

Corey Takahashi
Sandra Fabara, who used the alias Lady Pink, poses in front of a mural. i i

In the 1980s, graffiti artist Sandra Fabara went by the alias Lady Pink. She says she considered the subways "a rolling canvas." Corey Takahashi hide caption

itoggle caption Corey Takahashi
Sandra Fabara, who used the alias Lady Pink, poses in front of a mural.

In the 1980s, graffiti artist Sandra Fabara went by the alias Lady Pink. She says she considered the subways "a rolling canvas."

Corey Takahashi

In New York, crime is down and rents are up. And like other American cities undergoing wide-scale gentrification, a walk through today's New York offers sights of clean streets as much as mean ones.

Graffiti — the city's most famous symbol of urban anxiety — no longer grows like ivy on the subway trains. City authorities won that battle in the late 1980s. Still, it's lodged deeply in the city's psyche. And for the moment, it's firmly ensconced in the Brooklyn Museum, in an exhibition simply called, "Graffiti."

Most of the 22 works in the "Graffiti" exhibition feature spray paint on canvas, and come from the early 1980s. The show runs through Sept. 3.

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