General Information

Welcome to the Martha Cooper Library at URBAN NATION Museum Berlin

The Martha Cooper Library (MCL) specializes in literature on urban art, street art, and graffiti since the 1960s. A focus is on style writing from the 1970s in the U.S. tradition. The collection is based on the donation, as well as numerous permanent loans, of publications and archival materials by Martha Cooper.


The entire collection is located in the closed stacks. Desired titles must be ordered into the reading room.
This can be done either at the workstation registration or in the OPAC.

Who is Martha Cooper?
Martha Cooper is a documentary photographer who has been capturing subcultural art and architecture in urban spaces for over 40 years.
In 1977, Martha Cooper moved to New York City from Rhode Island and worked as a photographer at the New York Post for three years. During this time, she began photographically capturing graffiti and b-boying, which inspired her extensive documentation of the beginnings of hip-hop when this new style of music was just emerging in the Bronx. The resulting images, which are known worldwide, helped make hip-hop the groundbreaking international youth movement it is today.
Martha Cooper's 1984 book Subway Art (edited by the photographer and Henry Chalfant) is affectionately called "The Bible" by graffiti artists today. She is considered the most important chronicler of graffiti and street art. Martha Cooper's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and published in numerous magazines - from National Geographic to Vibe. Martha Cooper still lives in Manhattan, but travels extensively, for example to urban art festivals around the world.