City as Canvas

Street art with the name LEE, Howard the Duck hiding behind a garbage lid, and “And if art is a crime, let God forgive all”

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The first time exhibition of works from the expansive street art collection of Martin Wong.

Martin Wong, an East Village artist and collector of graffiti art, amassed a treasure trove of hundreds of works on paper and canvas—in aerosol, ink, and other mediums. The artists, including Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones, LADY PINK, and FUTURA 2000, were seminal figures in an artistic movement that spawned a worldwide phenomenon, altering music, fashion, and popular visual culture. The exhibition City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection includes over 150 works on canvas and other media, along with photographs of graffiti writing long erased from subways and buildings.

Wong, who died of AIDS in 1999, donated his collection to the City Museum in 1994.

City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection will run from February 4 through September 21, 2014.


  • "Writing Was on the Wall, and Some Still Remains,” Ken Johnson, The New York Times
  • "A Museum Honors the Glory Days of Graffiti Art,” Rita Braver, CBS Sunday Morning
  • "City as Canvas: An Exhibition of New York Graffiti Art,” Ariella Budick, Financial Times
  • "City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection,” Alex Fialho, Art Forum
  • "City as Canvas Celebrates the Golden Age of Graffiti,” Mike Dunphy, Metro New York

Read the press release.

If you are interested in hosting the exhibition at your museum, or to reserve a slot on a tour, please contact us at or 917.492.3472.


The companion publication for City as Canvas is sponsored by Mrs. Florence Wong Fie and The Martin Wong Foundation.

Education programs in conjunction with the exhibition are made possible by a grant from the Keith Haring Foundation Inc.

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