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Artist's collection of graffiti art highlights movement's evolution in NYC, beyond

In this 1978 photo provided by the Museum of the City of New York, the graffiti mural “Howard the Duck,” is painted on a handball court in New York. The Lee Quinones mural was a pivotal work that helped propel the illicit graffiti art movement from the subway system to above ground, and into the mainstream. The original mural has been painted over, but Quinones recreated it on canvas and it is part of the exhibition,

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In this 1978 photo provided by the Museum of the City of New York, the graffiti mural “Howard the Duck,” is painted on a handball court in New York. The Lee Quinones mural was a pivotal work that helped propel the illicit graffiti art movement from the subway system to above ground, and into the mainstream. The original mural has been painted over, but Quinones recreated it on canvas and it is part of the exhibition, "City as Canvas." (AP Photo/Charlie Ahearn)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Museum of the City of New York is presenting an exhibition on graffiti art from the 1970s and '80s collected by an East Village artist who was enamoured with the once-renegade art form.

"City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection" opens Tuesday and runs through Aug. 24.

Wong befriended and mentored many of the young teenage artists.

His collection of more than 300 graffiti paintings and sketchbooks was donated to the museum before his death in 1999.

About 150 are being shown for the first time in the exhibition. Works by DAZE, CRASH and FUTURA 2000 are included.

Experts say Wong had the foresight to collect the works when no one else in New York was thinking seriously about it.

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