‘AEIOU’, Paris: 35 3/4 x 17 3/4" (90.8 x 45.1 cm); ‘S’, New York: 30 x 24" (76.2 x 61 cm)
Evan Roth has cataloged characters from graffiti tags found in New York and Paris and assembled them into comprehensive taxonomies of particular letters. The result is an organized study of stylistic expression, depicting range, commonalities, and deviations in letterforms. For the Paris project, Roth isolated the 10 most commonly used letters (A, E, I, K, N, O, R, S, T, U) for further study. A total of 18 tags, shown in both uppercase and lowercase letters, were chosen to represent the diversity and range of each specific character, from simple to ornate. The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, which commissioned Graffiti Taxonomy for the exhibition Born in the Streets—Graffiti in 2009, displayed these tags on the museum’s exterior, transforming the building into a canvas and learning tool. Roth’s cataloging of each letter of the alphabet in New York is ongoing; on his website he calls for leads from the public, thus crowdsourcing the hunting and gathering of specimens.