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Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art

Wooster Collective founders co-author a new book of the most astounding outlaw street art

by Josh Rubin in Culture on 15 September 2010

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Books on street art are as common as taggers who think they're going to be the next Banksy. So when we heard the elusive artist himself wrote the intro to "Trespass," a book billing itself as a "A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art," we decided to take a closer look. Co-authored by Marc and Sara Schiller of the street art site Wooster Collective, among their criteria for inclusion was that none of the work be commissioned. Every piece in the new large-format book is an "artist activation"—from mid-'70s gang roll calls in L.A. to the the barge-bridge that Bruce High Quality Foundation floated on NYC's East River.

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Featuring the work of over 150 artists, printed in full-color on matte paper, the focus is decidedly less on traditional graffiti than on public art that generally plays off its environment to make a point. Spanning illicit performances, social movements and protests, as well as several other outdoor interventions, seeing the works of renowned artists, such as Krink, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Os Gemeos, Jenny Holzer, Barry McGee, Gordon Matta-Clark, Shepard Fairey, Blu, Vito Acconci, C.R. Stecyk and of course Banksy, suggests the deeper social and cultural implications of the phenomenon.

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The 318-page book also devotes ample pages to never-seen before art, including unpublished images, photographs, and photos from Keith Haring, Jean-Michael Basquiat, and Martha Cooper.

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Supplemented by writer and downtown fixture Carlo McCormick's essays (who also authored the book), as well an afterward by Creative Time's director Anne Pasternack and Taschen editor Ethel Seno's editorial expertise, "Trespass" has lessons for even the most advanced student of graffiti culture.

To leaf through the first 100 pages of Trespass, check out the Amazon to pre-order.

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