Revisit the Golden Age of Hip-Hop at New Photo Exhibit
Joe Conzo, “Almighty KG of the Cold Crush Brothers at Harlem World,” 1981. Courtesy of the photographer
Rewinding to the days of gold chains, hoop earrings, and sneakers with no laces, a new hip-hop photography exhibition is on its way to Museum of the City of New York. HIP-HOP REVOLUTION: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper presents the work of three photographers who were paramount in proliferating the look and feel of hip-hop in its infancy. “In New York’s long history, the creativity born of the city’s density and diversity has brought enormous riches to the world,” says Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York. “Hip-hop is yet another incredibly vibrant example of how the world has been shaped by what started in New York. You can see this dynamic and influential music and culture come to life in this exhibition through the powerful photographs of three wonderful photographers.”
HIP-HOP REVOLUTION, which follows the museum’s 2014 graffiti art exhibition, features over 100 original photographs taken between 1977 and 1990, starring the likes of Afrika Bambaata, Queen Latifah, Run DMC, and a very skinny Busta Rhymes. The shutterbugs themselves run the gamut, from “the man who took hip-hop’s baby pictures,” Joe Conzo, to Kodakgirl, a.k.a. documentarian Martha Coooper, to iconic music photographer Janette Beckman, who is credited for helping create “the public face of hip-hop,” according to Museum of the City of New York.
(L to R) Martha Cooper, “Little Crazy Legs strikes an impromptu pose during Wild Style shoot, Riverside Park, Manhattan,” 1983. Courtesy of the Photographer. Janette Beckman, “Afrika Bambaataa,” 1983. Courtesy of the Photographer
“We’re seeing in these photographs the foundation of what many people consider a way of life today,” explains Curator of Prints & Photographs for the Museum, and HIP-HOP REVOLUTION producer, Sean Corcoran. Beckman, Conzo, and Cooper’s works “show the development of a culture from the grassroots, and these photographers were part of propagating the culture to ever expanding audiences,” he continues. “This is really a New York story.”
Janette Beckman, “Eric B & Rakim” NYC, 1987. Courtesy of the Photographer
Designed by Marissa Martonyi, the exhibition also contains newspaper clippings, music listening stations, books, flyers, and other artifacts of the era, and even offers special programs for students and teachers.
Check out some of the awesome images in the show below, and visit Museum of the City of New York to learn more.
Janette Beckman, “LL Cool J with Cut Creator, E-Love, and B-Rock,” 1986. Courtesy of the Photographer
(L to R) Janette Beckman, “Salt-N-Pepa,” “Busta Rhymes (Leaders of the New School).” Courtesy of the Photographer
Joe Conzo, “JDL at Skatin’ Palace,” 1981. Courtesy of the photographer
Martha Cooper, “High Times Crew breaking outside transit police station, Washington Heights, Manhattan,” 1980. Courtesy of the Photographer
Joe Conzo, “Tony Tone and Kool Herc Backstage at T-Connection,” 1979. Courtesy of the Photographer
HIP-HOP REVOLUTION: Photographs by Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper was held on April 1, 2015 through September 13, 2015 at Museum of the City of New York.