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'Rage is Back' author Adam Mansbach on NYC graffiti

Crack is Wack by Keith Haring

Crack is Wack by Keith Haring Credit: Crack is Wack by Keith Haring

The author of the bestseller "Go the F--- to Sleep" has returned with his new novel "Rage Is Back," the story of a renowned NYC graffiti artist who disappeared after a feud with the police, then returns 16 years later. Through gripping prose, Adam Mansbach puts the reader in the thick of the graffiti underground.

Mansbach says that everywhere you look in New York City, there's a story to tell about graffiti. Here are four stories, as told by Mansbach.

"[This is] a wall memorializing KASE 2, one of the most talented and influential writers of his era. Fans of the classic documentary 'Style Wars' can quote every line of the magnetic, one-armed KASE's dialogue... KEO and NOAH, two highly-respected veteran writers themselves, pay tribute to their comrade by laying out his government name in KASE's signature style." (This wall at Seward Park High School on the LES was painted over.)

2. FUTURA tag, 1981
"I used to live right near this miraculously-surviving tag, right near the 125th and Broadway station. FUTURA 2000 was a celebrated train writer who has gone on to make his mark in the art and design world. Tags aren't often given the same respect as bigger, more elaborate pieces, but they're the foundation of style, and as FUTURA demonstrates here, a well-executed one can be a joy to behold."

3. Keith Haring "Crack Is Wack" handball court
"Haring's famous handball court has been landmarked and restored, while thousands of other pieces by artists who got their start in the streets hitting walls with spray paint just like him had their works buffed out of existence. Not to take anything away from Haring, but when he created this piece, there were probably a hundred other legally-painted handball murals in the city, by everyone from Lee Quinones to PHASE 2, and they're all gone. The fact that only Haring's work was considered worth taking the time and money to save speaks volumes about how race and class and art-world prestige function."

4. Jose Parla, "Diary of Brooklyn"
"Jose Parla's beautiful 'Diary of Brooklyn' mural, unveiled recently at the Barclays Center and inspired by James Agee's book 'Brooklyn Is,' is an example of an artist based in graffiti and street art stretching out with wonderful results. Parla's abstract work graces BAM and now Barclays, both within blocks of his Fort Greene studio."

If you go: Adam Mansbach will be at the Powerhouse Arena Wednesday at 7 p.m., 37 Main St., Brooklyn, 718-666-3049, RSVP to

He is also reading Thursday at McNally Jackson Books at 7 p.m., 52 Prince St., 212-274-1160, FREE.

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