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Graffiti and Street Art

With a screening of The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan

Evening Seminar

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0841

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Please note that the accurate location for this program is S. Dillon Ripley Center (1100 Jefferson Dr., S.W., Washington, DC). 

Contemporary graffiti traces its roots to the late 1960s in New York City and Philadelphia, where artists covered every available surface from subway cars to ice cream trucks to park benches with their distinctive, boldly graphic signatures.

What was once a subculture is now seen as an art and a business, as many of these once-renegade practitioners have leveraged their recognizable names and styles to move into the worlds of galleries, graphic design, and marketing.

Today, the word graffiti has been replaced by the buzzword “street art” in most art circles. The terms, though, aren’t synonymous. Their important differences—and their roles in interpreting the urban scene––are discussed by graffiti historian and author Roger Gastman who founded and published the pop culture magazines While You Were Sleeping and Swindle (with Shepard Fairey), and whose production credits include the films Wall Writers and Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.

He’ll also focus on Washington’s home-grown graffiti scene and introduce The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan, a feature documentary narrated by local native Henry Rollins, which tells the story of the city in the 1980s through the eyes of this D.C. graffiti legend. Producer Gastman and film director Joseph Pattisall conduct a post-screening Q&A.

Other Connections

Watch the trailer for The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)