Martha Cooper Street Shots
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16TH, 8-11PM
JANUARY 16TH – FEBRUARY 13TH, 2009
Martha Cooper has been photographing creative kids in action on city streets since the mid-1970s. In Street Shots, opening January 16th at Subliminal Projects, her photos reveal the imaginative children of pre-renewal New York City as they mined the abandoned lots of the city to create toys from trash. Cooper, renowned for her graffiti and hip-hop pictures, brings those classic images together with ones depicting inner-city kids building forts from scrap, catching flies in cola bottles and racing homemade go-karts—all without adult supervision.
The opening of Street Shots also marks several debuts: Cooper’s new book, Going Postal, a collection of photos of postal labels bearing street art; her image collaboration with Shepard Fairey, available as a screen-print poster; and her own Obey line, with photos printed on clothing, bags, and skateboards. All will be available for purchase at Subliminal Projects, along with Cooper’s other books, including Subway Art, Hip Hop Files, Street Play, We B*Girlz and Tag Town.
Martha Cooper is a documentary photographer who has specialized in documenting urban vernacular art and architecture for over thirty years. In 1977, Martha moved to New York City and worked as a staff photographer on the NY Post for three years. During that time she began to shoot graffiti and break dancing, subjects which led to her extensive coverage of early Hip Hop as it emerged from the Bronx.
Martha’s first book Subway Art (with Henry Chalfant), has been in print since 1984 and is affectionately called the “Bible” by graffiti artists worldwide. Her next book, R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art looks at memorial murals in NYC and Hip Hop Files 1980-1984 contains hundreds of rare, early Hip Hop photos. We B*Girlz is an intensive look at girls who breakdance worldwide, and Street Play and New York State of Mind are her collections of NYC photos from the late 70’s. Tag Town shows the evolution of graffiti style from early tags to complicated pieces. Her latest book, Going Postal contains hundreds of images of graffiti and street art on postal stickers.
Martha’s work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries and published in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. She lives in Manhattan where she is the Director of Photography at City Lore, the New York Center for Urban Folk Culture.