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The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti Hardcover – September 3, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Curator Schacter offers a stunning survey of artists known for their nonsanctioned public work in this concisely written, yet comprehensive volume . . . This valuable and impressive tome, featuring a foreword by street and multimedia artist John Fekner, provides an informative, consistent, and well-illustrated narrative of a global art phenomenon.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
(Publishers Weekly 2013-08-26)

“Rafael Schacter, a British curator and anthropologist, has bundled into the book’s 400 pages a range of styles and modes offering a rare and pleasant encounter with art in which the critic stays (mostly) out of the way . . . Incorporating histories of graffiti in cities like São Paulo and Tokyo, the book shows us a medium exceptional in its grasping for an essence of place and time. Oh, and it’s beautiful, too.”—New York Times Book Review
(New York Times Book Review)

“The art book to beat all art books sets out to become the definitive reference guide on international street art, covering artists hiding in all corners of the globe. From Shepard Fairey's iconic work in California to Tima Radya's political musings across Russia to Os Gemeos' magical characters sprinkled around Brazil, the anthology of murals and more illuminates the visual beauty of street art, as well as the rich history behind it.”—Huffington Post
(Huffington Post 2013-08-22)

“This is an excellent introduction to graffiti/street art for readers such as myself, and it will satisfy connoisseurs of the trade, as well.”—Kevin Wong, Popmatters
(Kevin Wong Popmatters 2013-09-26)

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer-looking coffee table book than The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. Compiled by Rafael Schacter and put out by Yale University Press, the book is a hefty production, weighing about as much as a laptop and chock-full of gorgeous color photos of some of the planet’s most stunning, creative, classic and avant-garde art on walls, trains and sidewalks.“—Askmen.com

“Rarely does a publication come along that can qualify as a definitive reference, but this is definitely one. More than merely a presentation of mural painting and the myriad forms of independent urban creations, it is a validation of the aforementioned as fine art . . . an indispensable reference for art history students and art lovers everywhere.”—San Francisco Book Review (San Francisco Book Review)

“This is a big volume and would make a great coffee table book.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“This is a great overview of a fascinating art genre, and its excellent presentation will make it a great gift”—Nico Vreeland, Chamber Four
(Nico Vreeland Chamber Four 2013-10-30)

“. . . a piece of art in and of itself.”—Examiner.com
(Sandra Cruz Examiner.com 2013-10-25)

“Let’s hope that Schacter’s book finds its way to the folks who oversee the installation of public art in the city. Some in Boston would like to see the Dewey Square commissions go to local artists, but why not open them to the world? Why not consider the celestial allegorical murals by Interesni Kazki, a duo from Kiev, Ukraine, or the gritty larger-than-life portraits by Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto? This book holds a world of possibilities.”—Jan Gardner, Boston Globe
(Jan Gardner Boston Globe)

“The most eye-opening aspect of this massive, and possibly even definitive, volume is the introduction it offers to graffiti artists in other countries. Among these masterworks are the Philip Guston-like intricacies of EKTA’s creations in Sweden, ARZ’s work in Barcelona, the dreamscapes of AEC and WAONE in Kiev, the Roy Lichtenstein-inspired work of CEPT in London, the nearly countless artists in Mexico City and Melbourne, and the astonishing fantasy animals of BMD in New Zealand. But this is just scratching the surface of the visual delights inside this volume.”—Alan Bisbort, Below the Fold
(Alan Bisbort Below the Fold 2013-08-30)

“A truly international and entertaining city by city guide to the most spectacular and most sly works of contemporary art in public places, sometimes authorized, sometimes not.”—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
(Kenneth Baker San Francisco Chronicle)

Winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival in the Photography/Art Category.
(Los Angeles Book Festival JM Northern Media LLC 2014-03-13)

About the Author

Rafael Schacter is honorary research fellow at the Department of Anthropology at University College, London. John Fekner is a street and multimedia artist.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300199422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300199420
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Super rich and interesting, this book is incredibly well documented.

It is intended to satisfy street art aficionados and enthusiasts as well as newcomers. Readers who just want to enjoy the photos and the work of artists by turning the pages will be as pleased as those who want to understand and know the birth of this art through the 400 pages of this atlas.

The reader scans the globe along with some of the most famous artists of the world and discover the diversity of this art open to a lot of influences. Between simple words graffed to the incredible frescoes, through the most original and unusual works, this book captivated me.

Not being a connoisseur but enjoying some works I've seen through my travels through Europe and the United States, I was conquered by the information received in this Altlas.
The perfect gift for someone who loves art.


"Indeed, there are as many different motivations, styles, and approaches within this artistic arena as there are practitioners themselves - a "street art" for every street artist, a "graffiti" for every graffiti writer."

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was excellent in a lot of ways. Well designed, visually exciting, well written, informative. The atlas idea of taking you around to different regions was cool, and the artist's city "maps" throughout were a nice touch. Lots of excellent artists featured and a nice variety of styles and media.

However, I have two criticisms for the author. Firstly, the glaring omission of a number of deserving female artists really struck a cord for me. Out of the nearly 100 hundred artists featured, I counted 3 female artists. THREE. They are Swoon, Gold Peg, and Nuria Mora. No mention of Bastardilla, Olek, Clare Rojas, Miss Van or Maya Hayuk, to name a few. Faith47 was mentioned, though only by way of her marriage to Da Least.

Another disappointment was the overall western-centric viewpoint taken by the curator. The book focuses entirely on the US, Europe, and South America. The last chapter is dismissively titled "Rest of World," (which coincidentally is just Australia). There is not a single african or middle eastern city or artist featured, and the sole Asian cities featured are Tokyo and Wuhan (though the second I'm not sure why, considering all of Dal East's featured works are located in western cities, not China).

So, while I did very much enjoy reading and learning from this book, I came away from it feeling quite disenchanted by the overall lack of cultural and gender heterogeneity. There is definitely a lot missing here. A much more appropriate book title would have been "Western street art sausagefest"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book that I obviously throughly enjoyed. Not only is there an op art quality that is seductive but the size and quality of the art are equally breath taking. I hope this book brings the same pleasure to you that it brought me. The funny thing about this book is that I opened it thinking I wouldn't like it because I don't like urban 'taggers' who soil the walls and properties of businesses and homes in my city,San Francisco,but instead found samples of government & business sanctioned 'street art' that truly added to the beauty of cities all around the world. I would love to hear from anyone else pro or con on this book.
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Format: Hardcover
From the moment buildings sprouted up from the ground in the formation of the concrete jungles we call cities, there were those who saw the bleak, grey walls as a canvas to express and expose themselves to the public in an unfiltered fashion. From its illicit and illegal beginnings, graffiti and street art has made its way into the protected and profitable world of fine art galleries (a shift that not everyone in the realm is fond of.) Yet the change has not come by way of the quality or effect of the art itself, which was always there, but the understanding of those viewing it. Sometimes it just takes a new set of eyes to appreciate what was there before.

The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti by Rafael Schacter strives not only to document, organize and illustrate the breadth and wealth of street art in the world, but also to educate the reader. He defines each artist along the way with an encyclopedic litany of fine art terminology, which at times can sound a touch pretentious, but is always done with the utmost sincerity. The book is a gallant effort to prove that these artists are not just taggers and their work is more than urban distraction. It has meaning, it is layered and it has value.

Schacter intricately moves across the globe, splitting it into huge geographic sections to display the graffiti cultures and their connected influences. Some artists find their work determined by their surroundings, which may be more desolate or decrepit than others, like Kenor who is quoting as wanting to “decorate the dead cities”, while others see their style more defined by the social and political current running through the area.
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