Martha Cooper "Fab five Freddy soup cans" 1980
Martha Cooper finds herself in the line of artists whose work is linked to the urban environment. Acting like a true archivist, she delivers her photographic representations between art, documentary and journalism. Here, she captures a snapshot of New York’s scenery in the 80’s : train and subway graffiti. The picture was taken in 1980. As a mise en abyme, the photographer chooses to present a work of art inside of her own : a subway car painted by an artist. But who is it ? Any idea ? What first appears to be a simple copy of Andy Warhol turns out to be Fab Five Freddy’s work. But, why would someone reproduce the work of the pop art icon ?In 1980, Andy Warhol reaches the height of his fame in New-York’s cultural community. He is the indisputable reference for art. But Fab Five Freddy believes in another culture. He chooses a train line that establishes a connection between two worlds. This train travels from the rough neighbourhoods of the Bronx to the chic borough of Manhattan... By painting the subway train in its entirety, the artist wanted to arouse the pedestrians’ curiosity and show them that another art does exist, that another culture is alive in New York City. And this is it, right in front of you. This graffiti culture. This work places us at a junction where two cultures briefly and unpredictably merge.
© Speerstra Gallery / Marie Bourtayre / translation and voice: Yann Marguet