The influence of Hip Hop culture will now be felt via a new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
“Recognize!”—will sit down the hall from an exhibit titled “America’s Beginnings”—features graffiti murals, photography of Hip Hop icons, videos and poetry. Brandon Fortune who serves as the gallery’s curator of painting and sculpture; Jobyl A. Boone, a pre-doctoral fellow; and Frank Goodyear, assistant curator of photographs collaborated on the project.
“…there’s nothing marginal about hip-hop at all. Hip-hop is at the center of our culture. It’s the most influential cultural phenomenon that extends beyond the music,” Goodyear said of Hip Hop’s impact.
LL Cool J, Ice-T, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five will all be featured in the exhibit, which runs through October.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, this is the first time the Smithsonian has ever featured Hip Hop artists in an exhibit.
In addition to Hip Hop music getting a seat at the table for the exhibit, “Recognize!” will also mark the first time that graffiti art—which is often seen as an eye sore by many elected officials and community residents—will be displayed as well.
Tim “CON” Conlon and Dave “AREK” Hupp teamed up to produce the four murals used for th exhibit and each signed the pieces with their respective tag names.
“Contemporary portraiture isn’t always figurative,” said Boone, who compared tagging to taking a self portrait. “It isn’t always representational. Of course, when you’re painting graffiti, you’re not out there having your picture taken. So, your tag is your face to the world,”
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