In the very commercialized genres of street art and graffiti, Al Díaz, at 61, still commands an inimitable point of view. Disinterested in creating shiny balloon animals full of air or spectacle without substance, Díaz offers intricate wordplay using the everyday ephemera of New York’s subway system lexicon. As a first-generation graffiti artist, Díaz innovates the alphabet and coded language to communicate and to provoke. Or put another way, Díaz has something real to say.
Although many discussions on Díaz begins with his partnership with Jean-Michael Basquiat in the late 1970s, Díaz’s primary collaboration of consequence belongs to the one he nurtured with his cool older cousin, Gilberto “SIETE” Díaz who lived uptown in Washington Heights. This hood is what Díaz rightly cited in a 2018 interview at Cherokee Gallery in St. Louis as, “The spawning grounds for New York City graffiti culture, the name, and number culture.” In 1971, the older primo Díaz introduced 12-year-old Albert to the genie in a spray can around the now-infamous Writers’ Corner on West 188th Street and Audubon Avenue. “None of this was visible in the Lower East Side, but I was impressed with this.”
AL DÍAZ "Girlfriends" Mixed Media on Canvas, 2020 - $12K Appraisal Value
Al Diaz's career spans over 5 decades. Born of Puerto Rican descent and raised in New York City, by age 15 he was an influential first-generation subway graffiti artist known as “BOMB-ONE.” His friendship and artistic collaboration with high school classmate Jean-Michel Basquiat on the SAMO©…graffiti writings, (an Avant-garde social critique), has been noted often in contemporary art history. Diaz’ contributions to the cultural renaissance of the East Village from that period also include musical percussion and performance art, and have made him a key member of a celebrated artistic community that continues to influence and draw interest.
Today, Díaz’ creative practice includes gathering the standard “WET PAINT” signage used throughout the NYC MTA, and cutting them up to create clever, poignant anagrams. His work has been shown, privately collected and archived internationally, he is featured often in publications, recordings and films, and has been a highlighted speaker for a variety of panel discussions at universities and museums. A notebook that Díaz made with Basquiat is currently held in the collection of the Yale University Beinecke Library.
Dimensions/Size:12" x 24" inches
Medium :Mixed Media on Canvas
Condition: Excellent, New
Custom Framing: Available Upon Request
Certificate of Authenticity: Signed by Artist
Appraisal Value: $6,095.00
Appraisal Value: $12,000.00
Our Price: $6,095.00
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