“Hip-Hop Revolution” Exhibit

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IMAGE CREDIT: MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, A THOUSAND WORDS

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We tried our best not to let the cascading chandelier lights, marble floors and staircase B’s floor to ceiling graphic installation by Pentagram in The Museum of the City of New York mesmerize us too much, because the 3rd level awaited something just as special. “Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper” represented well for a culture born in the borough of the Bronx that’s now a global billion dollar industry.

Curated with care, the exhibit featured exclusively shot images of B-boys and B-girls, DJs, MCs, crews, street life, and Hip Hop’s rise in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, as well as specially commissioned art by local writers, aka graffiti and graphic artists.

VIDEO CREDIT: YOUTUBE – MUSEUMOFCITYNY

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Unexpected items such as vintage Nikon cameras, original member cards of the Rock Steady Crew and glossy photo books by Michael Holman lay proudly in glass cases. Also along the colorful walls were listening stations of Golden Era MC’s such as Big Daddy Kane, and a giant wall featuring lyrics of staple songs by the likes of LL Cool J, Rakim, and KRS-One shielded the entrance and exit.

The work and perspectives of archivists like Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant are eternally special due to the undocumented nature of Hip Hop’s early beginnings. Whether following keen instincts, their own passions or just being in the right places at the right times, these figures became living historians of its creative revolution evolving like nothing like it before.

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MARTHA COOPER & HENRY CHALFANT CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF THEIR BOOK “SUBWAY ART: 25TH ANNIVERSARY”

IMAGE CREDIT: LAWRENCE – ARRESTEDMOTION

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While a number of graffiti writers, dancers, DJs, emcees and cultural organizers have been able to manifest professional careers and followings in the new eras, countless creators are to this day unknown and undiscovered. The raw, unpolished, “chaos-realm” (as coined by The Black Dot) growth of Hip Hop is thus as important to re-learn as a treat to re-witness.

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VIDEO CREDIT: YOUTUBE – MUSEUMOFCITYNY

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The Museum Mile Festival and “Hip-Hop Revolution” at the Museum of the City of New York may be over, but the culture & true energy of Hip Hop is forever.

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PHOTOS TAKEN AT GALLERY BY EMILIA A. OTTOO
ALL WORKS BY JANETTE BECKMAN, JOE CONZO AND MARTHA COOPER.

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