Jean Dubuffet, ‘Hopes and Options’ 1971
Jean Dubuffet
Hopes and Options 1971
Tate
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

Graffiti art has its origins in 1970s New York, when young people began to use spray paint and other materials to create images on buildings and on the sides of subway trains. Such graffiti can range from bright graphic images (wildstyle) to the stylised monogram (tag).

Graffiti as such is rarely seen in galleries and museums, yet its aesthetic has been incorporated into artists’ work. Early exponents of graffiti in art included the French artist Jean Dubuffet who incorporated tags and graphic motifs into his paintings, and the New York artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring who could be defined as street art pioneers.

More recently, graffiti artists such as Barry McGee and Banksy have had their work exhibited in commercial spaces.