As time passes, history reveals itself in the art it leaves behind, the highlights of a past long gone by. And so it is that in these artifacts we can reflect on who we were, where we’ve been, and how we got from there to here. Hip Hop was born in the Bronx, a movement of the people to gather together to have a good time. In its earliest years, it was a local phenomenon, a style of art, music, and dance created by high school kids who wanted to party but weren’t yet going out to clubs. Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” not quite knowing just how fertile New York City in the 1970s was for culture, feeding the world for decades to come for Hip Hop was born of the streets, but it went far, far beyond.
Hip Hop became a global phenomenon, sweeping the world by storm. During the first two decades of its existence, before it went pop, Hip Hop was an underground phenomenon that appealed to the true school. It was D.I.Y. culture that required originality, authenticity, and skills. It was local heroes made good. In celebration of this great, modern-day hometown story, the Museum of the City of New York presents Hip-Hop Revolution: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper, an exhibition presenting more than 100 photographs taken between 1977 and 1990. The exhibition also includes listening stations for the music of performers documented in the exhibition, as well as flyers about early hip-hop performances, newspaper clippings, books and other paper artifacts of the era.
Curated by Sean Corcoran, Hip-Hop Revolution brings together for the first time the work of three of the most renowned photographers of the burgeoning Hip Hop scene. For old school heads, the work of Beckman, Conzo, and Cooper was integrated into daily life, as their photographs appeared on flyers, in newspapers and magazines, and on record covers. Corcoran speaks with The Click about Hip-Hop Revolution and the photographers who defined the era.
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