John Matos Crash



Born in 1961 in the Bronx, New York, John Matos Crash - an alternative icon - shakes up hierarchies, establishes bridges, and creates crossroads between posters, music, institutions, and advertising, in order to reach a new, if not virgin, public. Artist of the graffiti, tagger, he inscribes his work in an urban and daily elsewhere as an ephemeral performative act removing the intermediaries (gallery owners, directors of museums or art centers) between the creator and his public.

At the end of the 70s, trains, cars and subway lines became his medium of expression to reappropriate the city, his city, New York.

He was one of the first to take step towards the unknown journey of recognizing graffiti as a legitimate art form. The presence of his works in the greatest international museums (from MoMA in New York to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam) is a testament to this.

Consecrated by a first gallery exhibition in 1981, he remains attached to his roots and faithful to the principle that has been his since the beginning: to make graffiti accepted as a recognized and serious art.

The aesthetics of John Matos Crash is combined in the complexity of approaches and references: comic-strip, drawing, logos titles, onomatopoeia... color(s). All this leads to weave multiples links with other contemporary artistic movements.

In 1984, the exhibition 5/5 of the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris will dedicate these rhizomic filiations. John Matos Crash found himself alongside Robert Combas, Hervé and Buddy Di Rosa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, François Boisrond, Kenny Scharf, Tseng Kwong Chi, Louis Jammes, Rémi Blanchard... His transition to canvas is not an accommodation, even less a denial, but an extension, the exploration of a new medium.

Forty years later, John Matos Crash persists and signs by multiplying and renewing his sectors of intervention: the street, the walls, the frescoes (Pop Eye, New York, 2013), the performances, the events, the workshop, the guitars (for Eric Clapton and John Mayer). In 2004, one of the guitars, the 'Crash 3', saw its selling price soar at a Christies auction, and was sold for $321,100. 

John Matos Crash's work is multi-faceted and singularly coherent.

Inspired by the text The energy and completeness of John Matos Crash by Robert Bonaccorsi in Then and now John Matos Crash, Editions Galerie Brugier-Rigail Paris, Editions Villa Tamaris La Seyne-sur-Mer, 2015.


John Matos Crash is a graffiti artist, born in the Bronx on October 11, 1961.

Exhibitions (selection)


Breaking Ground: Defining The Urban Experience, JoAnne Artman Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA


8e Avenue, Contemporary Art Fair, Galerie W, Paris

- Movement Revisited with PRO176, Galerie Zimmerling & Jungfleisch, Saarbrucken, Germany

Heroes are Forever, Galerie Brugier-Rigail, Paris

Breaking Ground: Defining The Urban Experience, JoAnne Artman Gallery, Chelsea NYC


John CRASH Matos, Galerie Helenbeck, Nice

Crash-Recent Small Works, bOb's, NYC

John CRASH Matos, Galerie Artima, Paris

Then and Now, Villa Tamaris Centre d'Art, Toulon

1990-25 Years Later, Galerie At Down, Montpellier


FLOW, group show, Dorian Grey Gallery, NYC

Crash, Back to Metal, Speerstra Gallery, Bursins, Switzerland

Crash, ArtPalmBeach, Palm Beach, FL

Broken English, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, NYC

Crash, Broken Language, Lawrence Fine Arts, Est Hampton, NY

Crash, Recent Paintings, Paul Fisher Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL


Pop-Eye, Galerie Brugier-Rigail, Paris

Hide 'N Seek, Southport Galleries, Southport, CT

- Pop Art and Graffiti, Galerie Raison d'art, Lille

CRASH, Taipei Art Fair, M.A.D, Taipei, Taiwan

- John Crash Matos, Arts Elysées, Contemporay Art Fair, Velvet Galerie, Paris


Remnant Memories, Toy Tokyo Underground, NY

Crash, Study in Watercolors, Addict Galerie, Paris

Crash, Misdemeanors to Masterpieces, Long-Sharp/Curis Modern and Contemporary Fine Art, Detroit, MI

Crash, The True Essence..., Speerstra Gallery, Bursins, Switzerland

The Real Crash, Galerie Brugier-Rigail, Paris

Crash, Letting Ink Dry, Wallworks Gallery

Crash, Back on the Block, Antiguorum Galleries, NYC 


The Street Art Show, Opera Gallery, London

Paintings With a Hidden Agenda, Addict Galerie, Paris

Black to Basics, bOb, NYC

25 years of Prints, Southport Galleries, Southport, CT

Blurring the Lines, group show, Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


Crash, The Tin Machines, Addict Galerie, Paris

From the 4 Trains, To Fenders, A Retrospective, Thomas J. Walsh Gallery, Fairfield University, CT

Crash, Crashocasters, TT Underground, NYC



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