BOMB @ Van Abbemuseum

I curated the first graffiti piece on the Van Abbemuseum.

Not in the museum, but on the museum.

Graffiti started in the ’60s and ’70s in New York and Philadelphia with a core message: “Here I am.” Writers used their aliases, often combined with their street number, using simple black markers or spray paint. Today, the essence remains the same: writing your alias.

Over time, styles evolved, becoming more complex and colorful. This became known as ‘Style-writing.’ Visibility, or ‘getting up,’ is crucial in graffiti culture, with public spaces like city walls, railways, and trains being prime targets.

In recent years, more walls have been opened for street art and murals, rooted in graffiti culture. Graffiti can be likened to a wild wolf, pure in its natural habitat, unlike domesticated dogs. Similarly, raw graffiti tags are the predecessors of today’s stylized murals and street art.

How to best integrate graffiti into an art context? By placing it where it belongs: on the museum, not in it. Present it in its purest form, the alias, in public spaces.

BOMB
BOMB began writing his alias in 1998. In graffiti, ‘bombing’ means spreading your name strategically across numerous locations, a term inspired by the book “Subway Art” and the film “Wild Style.”

Between 1998 and 2003, BOMB gained fame with his iconic four letters and bomb symbols. However, post-9/11, the perception of his alias changed, leading him to stop using it.

Stezo paint and foam rollers
The SOL crew from Eindhoven, including BOMB, innovated by combining traditional spray paint with stickers, posters, wall paint, and foam rollers around 1998. Stezo paint, a cheaper option from a local family business, offered better coverage than spray paint.

To achieve clean lines, they used 5 cm foam rollers, which had both limitations and possibilities, leading to a distinctive crew style. Now, over 20 years later, BOMB is picked up the roller again.

*Besides the live painting during the Art Night i was also part of a panel discussion about the untold stories of Hiphop in Eindhoven.