Two Early Spray Paintings by Anna Walinska Headline Graffiti Summer Vacation Exhibit at Pen + Brush

  • New York, NY
  • June 15, 2017

For the past 123 years, Pen + Brush has been dedicated to promoting the work of women in the literary and visual arts. This summer, Pen + Brush will open its gallery walls to the NYC community, inviting female graffiti and street artists, writers and the public, to create art and conversation in the presence of the work of four trailblazing women artists:

  • ANNA WALINSKA (1906-1997): Beginning at the age of 12, Walinska painted nearly 2000 works over nine decades. A woman ahead of her time in many ways, she began experimenting with spray paint a few short years after its invention, and inadvertently became a pioneer in what would become graf ti and street art. Works by Walinska are included in numerous public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • JOSEPHINE BARREIRO: Hailing from Newark, Barreiro’s deep-seated love for graffiti art and abstract expressionism gives way to a body of work that is laced with anger, spontaneous energy, and personal as well as cultural memory. Her work previously appeared in Pen + Brush’s Broad Strokes exhibit, where she live-painted in the gallery and was featured on PBS’s NYC-Arts.
  • LADY PINK: Known as the “first lady of graffiti,” Lady Pink began her career in 1979 writing graffiti and painting NYC subway cars. As a leading participant in the rise of graffiti-based art, Lady Pink’s canvases are in numerous important collections, among them: the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.
  • MICHELA MARTELLO: An Italian-born illustrator-turned-artist, Martello is known for her murals and works on textiles. Her approach explores history, belief systems, and their corresponding symbols, and is driven by the discovery and re-discovery of meanings. Martello’s interactive mural Graf ti Goddess is currently on view at Pen + Brush, and she is a featured artist in the La Mare Wave Walk with Project O alongside notable artists and influencers.

Rosina Rubin, Walinska’s niece and the conservator of her impressive body of work, has been raising Walinska’s profile in recent years with a number of high-profile exhibits and events. When she learned about Pen + Brush’s concept for this upcoming show, Rubin saw a fortuitous paring between an organization in support of women artists and the life and legacy of Anna Walinksa.

“In 1959 my late aunt Anna Walinska was shopping for sewing supplies at the ‘five & dime,’ spotted spray paint in a can, and took it back to her studio to explore what she could do with it,” explains Rubin. “She certainly never imagined that almost 60 years later her work would be shown alongside that of legendary graffiti artist Lady Pink, but I know she would have been proud to be a part of this show.”

By working to bring a diverse collection of artists and writers to the gallery space, Pen + Brush hopes to encourage the New York City community to engage in a dialogue not only with the work of these artists but with each other. Throughout the exhibit, Pen + Brush will hold a series of writing and graffiti workshops and other events.

For press inquiries, please contact Lauren Banyar Reich at, or 202-246-8789.