CRASH (American, b.1961) is a Graffiti artist best known for his three-dimensional representation of lettering. Born John Matos in the Bronx, NY, he began spray painting on subway trains in his early teens, working alongside other pioneering American Graffiti artists, such as Dondi White (1961–1998) and Zephyr (b.1961). Although CRASH’s early work was lost when the MTA removed all Graffiti Art from the subway trains, he transitioned into working on canvas in 1978.

Inspired by American Pop artists, such as James Rosenquist (b.1933), Jasper Johns (b.1930), and Andy Warhol (1928–1987), CRASH established his place in the New York gallery scene in the early 1980s. He has also completed several public commissions, including the design of the Spectacolor Billboard in Times Square in 1981, and mural installations for the Musee d’art Moderne de la Villa de Paris in 1984. CRASH has painted several guitars, known as Crashocasters, for musicians Eric Clapton and John Mayer, and in 2011, designed a limited-edition line of Tumi Tag travel bags. He has held solo exhibitions at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporian in Nice, France, the Gallery Speerstra in Paris, and the Los Angeles Art Show. He lives and works the Bronx, NY.


Born: Bronx, New York
Began his career
Lives and works in Bronx, NY


Crash, Betances 1973-82, Addict Galerie, Paris, France (solo)
Crash, Los Angeles Art Show, FADA, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
CRASH by CRASH, La Galerie Helenbeck, Nice, France (solo)
Unfinished Business, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Crash, The Art of the Line, Speerstra Gallery, Bursins, Switzerland (solo)
Crash, Lafayette College’s Williams Art Gallery, Easton, PA (solo)
New Works by John CRASH Matos and Aaron Sharp Goodstone, Galerie Onega, Paris, France
Locked and Loaded, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY
Kaleidoscope: Paintings, Prints and Works on Paper, Wooster Projects, New York, NY (solo)
Crash, Galerie Onega, Paris France (solo)
The Lucky Strike Diaries, Speerstra Gallery, Bursins, Switzerland (solo)
The Silkscreen Pieces, Lucky Strike, Galerie Speerstra, Paris, France
Crash, Lehmann/Leskiw Fine Arts, Toronto, Canada (solo)
Collision II, (with Jahan), Jendela (Visual Arts Space), Singapore
Collision I, (with Jahan), Esplanade Concourse, Singapore
Second Skin, New paintings by CRASH, Wooster Projects, New York, NY (solo)
Second Skin, Paintings by CRASH, Sponsored by Stussy, Japan (solo)
Dreamland Artist Club 2005, Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY
Pop, Boom, Crash at Animation and Fine Arts Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Crash, Recent Paintings at Prosper, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
CRASH, Fender Stratocaster 50th Anniversary, Fender Museum, Corona, CA (solo)
Collaborations, (Crash/Herve DiRosa), Galerie Speersta, Paris, France
100 Small Paintings, RECON @, San Francisco, CA
Barrios, ArtLink International, Lake Worth, FL; Karolyn Sherwood Gallery, Des Moines, Iowa (solo)
Protocol, CRASHE ONE, the LAB101, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Crash: The Train Paintings at Speerstra Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
The Power of Crash at Art Link International Gallery, Lake Worth, FL (solo)
CRASH, Notes from the Westside, Galerie Speerstra, Paris, France (solo)
The Train Paintings, Galerie Speerstra, Paris, France (solo)
Barrios, Hostos Art Gallery, Hostos Community College/CUNY, Bronx, NY
KAWS & CRASH, MADEgallery, Vancouver, BC
Breaking Curfew, CPOP Gallery, Detroit, MI (solo)
CRASH, Fine Arts and Artists, Washington, DC (solo)
Installation, Prosper, New York, NY (solo)
INT./EXT., Eastwick Gallery, Chicago, IL
Collaborations: CRASHE ONE, TRIIAD, Paris, France
VIPS International, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
Graffiti Indoors, AZ/NY Contemporary, Scottsdale, AZ (solo)
Dorothy Blau Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, FL (solo)
CRASH, The Timetable, Galerie BLU, Pontiac, MI (solo)
Projects United, Kunst Zurich 2000, Zurich, Switzerland
From Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol, Antico Monastero Santa Chiara, San Marino, CA
American Graffiti: CRASH & DAZE, Musée d'Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporian, Nice, France (solo)
CRASH and DAZE: On the Express Train 1977-1999, Palais Liechtenstein, Reldkirch, Australia (solo)
CRASH and DAZE: On the Express Train 1977-1999, GroBmarkthallen, Munich, Germany (solo)
BEst Buddies, Galerie Blue, Pontiac, MI
Cadaver Dog, Art from the East Village/LES-the 1980’s, LIFE Café, New York, NY
CRASH / DAZE, Enrico Coveri, Florence, Italy (solo)
CRASH, Verticals and Horizontals, Mary Anthony Galleries, New York, NY (solo)
CRASH, Vail/Giesler Contemporary Art, Des Moines, IW (solo)
CRASH, The Exhibition, Masterpiece Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
Coming From The Subway: New York Graffiti Art, Museum Der Stadt Ratingen, Ratingen, Germany
American Graffiti, Museo Andriade Muricy, Curitiba, Brazil; San Paolo, Brazil; Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Spraycan Art from the Ludwig Collection and other Collections, Maschio Angioino, Naples, Italy; Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy
CRASH, 2nd Floor Limited, New Orleans, LA (solo)
Bruce R. Lewin Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
New York – New Works: John CRASH Matos, Galeria Las Palomas, Gaucin, Spain (solo)
Unholy Lust, Todd Kaplan Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Dorothy Blau Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, FL (solo)
Everything That’s Interesting is New, The Dakis Joannou Collection at The Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece
New York Unplugged II, Gallery Cotthem, Knokke-Zoute, Belgium
The Usual Suspects, Avanti Gallery, New York, NY
CRASH The Villains, Mary Anthony Galleries, New York, NY (solo)
Gallery Cotthem, Knokke-Zoutte, Belgium (solo)
Synaesthesia, Mary Anthony Galleries, New York, NY
CRASH, Works on Paper, The Hobbs Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
CRASH, Mary Anthony Fine Arts, New Hope, PA (solo)
CRASH/DAZE Recent Works, York College, a City University of New York, Jamaica, Queens, NY (solo)
Influential Works in the 90's, The Hobbs Gallery, Boston, MA
Urban Expressionism (The Hip Hop Movement), The Hudson Guild Art Gallery, New York, NY
Aerosoul, The Patterson Museum, Paterson, NJ
CRASH Through Express Part I (Retrospective), Taller Puertoriqueno, Philadelphia, PA; MEXI-CARTE Museum, Austin TX; Hostos Arts Gallery of Eugenio Maris de Hostos Community College of the City of New York, Bronx, NY; Gallery Cotthem, Zotegem, Belgium (solo)
CRASH & DAZE, Deux Peintres New Yorkais, Galerie de la Cathredrale, Monaco, France (solo)
8 Urban Artists from NYC, Berlin, Germany
New Paintings by CRASH, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
John CRASH Matos: New Works, C’an Isidro, Ibiza, Spain (solo)
CRASH Superheroes, Martin Lawrence Modern, New York, NY (solo)
Legacy, Rempire Gallery, New York, NY
Galerie Michel Gillet, Paris, France (solo)
CRASH, Galerie Artcade, Nice, France (solo)
Modern POP, Martin Lawrence Modern, New York, NY
Hip Hop Nation, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
SAGA, Grand Palais, Paris, France
CRASH & DAZE, Gallery Structure, Montpellier, France (solo)
Hokin Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, FL (solo)
CRASH & DAZE, Black and White in Color Gallery, Bronx, NY (solo)
Tamara Bane Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Hokin Gallery, Bay Harbor Islands, FL (solo)
CRASH, B5 Gallery, Monaco(solo)
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
CRASH!, The Manhattan Borough President David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, New York, NY (solo)
Ludwig Collection, Forte Belvedere, Florence, Italy
Jus de Pomme Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Yaki Kornblit Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
Yaki Kornblit Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
Yaki Kornblit Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
CRASH & DAZE, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY
Yaki Kornblit Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
51X Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Fashion Moda, Bronx, NY (solo)
Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (solo)

Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Appleton Museum or Art, Ocala, FL
Fort Wayne Museum, Fort Wayne, IN
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Museum of the City of New York, New York, NY
Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL