Thomas Christ: Instant Recognition

  • 70,00€


With this book, Thomas Christ brings his testimony in images and reflections on the graffiti of the 80's in New York, as he already did in his book "Subway Graffiti" published in 1984.  With about 400 pages, "Instant Recognition" combines unpublished photos of the New York graffiti scene, works by Keith Haring and Richard Hambleton, but also interviews with writers and personal documents of the time.

In the early 1980s, New York is the epicenter of the graffiti and street art scenes, from which a global cultural revolution emanates. In the middle of it all is Swiss art historian and lawyer Thomas Christ with his camera.

He follows the painted subways to the Bronx to photograph them and meets there young sprayers who want to escape the precarious conditions: They join together to form criminal gangs, which, however, do not strive for money but for fame. After his return, Christ presented his precise paintings and his lucid reflections on the background of illegal graffiti in the publication "Subway Graffiti" (1984) and in an exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Basel.

Shortly thereafter, in the follow-up publication "Urban Graffiti" (1987), Christ also deals with the work of Richard Hambleton and Keith Haring and is thus one of the first to address the relationship and difference between graffiti and street art: In contrast to Subway Graffiti, the artistic appropriation of public space here takes place with the knowledge of art as an operating system.

A new publication brings together and expands upon these two contemporary documents about a crucial high period of graffiti and street art in New York in one volume. "Instant Recognition" includes "Subway Graffiti" and "Urban Graffiti," supplemented by never-before-seen photos and documents from Thomas Christ's private archive. In a new text and an interview, Christ looks back on the events of the time and recounts his memories and impressions.


In this book, you will discover artworks from many artists including BLADE, Daze, Delta2, Dondi, FUTURA2000, Poem, Skeme, SEEN, TERROR161/JSON, ZEPHYR, and many more.


Hardcover book

Various interviews including one with Thomas Chris (all in English)

Photos and texts: Thomas Christ

328 photos of which approx. 200 unpublished photos

Product details

Thomas Christ: Instant Recognition
Publication Date
December 2022
Thierry Furger and Rémi Jaccard
Number of Pages
11,02 x 9,45 inch
28 x 24 cm

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