RINGLING MUSEUM ADDS TO ITS CONTEMPORARY MIX WITH BEYOND BLING: VOICES OF HIP-HOP IN ART
May 21–August 14, 2011
Sarasota, FL – March 7, 2011 – Since its inception in the 1970s to its present day mass appeal, Hip-Hop and the street culture from which it sprang have exerted a powerful influence on all aspects of culture. As part of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s inaugural season of Art of Our Time, a new initiative that showcases contemporary visual, literary, and performance art, the museum presents Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art. This challenging and provocative exhibition of art, dance, theater, film and lecture features a remarkable mix of contemporary art from leading visual and performing artists that reflects the diversity and inclusiveness of hip-hop culture. It is paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.
“We’re expanding our traditional programming by bringing new voices and forces in the world of contemporary art that we hope will attract new audiences and broaden the appeal of the Ringling Museum,” said T. Marshall Rousseau, interim director for the Ringling Museum. “Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art marks a new beginning for The Ringling Museum in which there will be a consistent presence of exhibitions bringing the very best in contemporary art that aims to challenge and raise awareness of current discourses in art and our wider culture.”
Over the last 30 years, Hip-Hop culture has expanded from an almost exclusively African-American and Latino phenomenon to one embraced by other ethnic and social groups. Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art includes a diverse mix of African American, Latino/a, Japanese American, British, Caucasian, gay, male and female artists. It is the first exhibition to take a focused look at the work of ten artists at various stages of career development who all operate within and are informed by hip-hop culture. The artists exhibited are Michael Anderson, iona rozeal brown, Vince Fraser, Gajin Fujita, Luis Gispert, Sofia Maldonado, Nadine Robinson, Mickalene Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.
“Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art brings together artists who, in the first decade of the 21st century, have provocatively incorporated signifiers of Hip-Hop/street culture into their work,” said Dr. Matthew McLendon, associate curator for modern and contemporary art at the Ringling Museum of Art. “All of the work displayed in the exhibition has been produced within the first decade of the new millennium providing a snapshot of what is happening in art at this moment. This unique presentation of artistic expressions is meant to invite further questions and expand our ideas of what it means to speak with an historically urban voice in this age of advanced globalization.”
The art exhibition in the galleries of the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing features a painting of an African-American male as the new art historical icon by Kehinde Wiley, considered the pre-eminent hip-hop portraitist. It showcases a sequined, baroque image of the African-American woman by Mickalene Thomas, who has presented major commissions at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Among these and many outstanding works are the Asian influenced graffiti art of Gajin Fujita, and neighborhood women from a mural featured in New York’s Times Square by Sofia Maldonado, an emerging Latina artist with a growing global reputation. The Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art exhibition runs from May 21 to August 14, 2011.
Also in conjunction with the exhibition is the work of legendary Rennie Harris Puremovement, an international hip-hop dance ambassador and senior member in the world of organized hip-hop dance/theater. His company RHPM hits the stage of The Historic Asolo Theater, showcasing the spirit and essence of authentic urban expression by exploring universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, May 19 to 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35, $30, $20 / Ringling Members: $30, $25, $15. Contact the Historic Asolo Theater Box Office at the Ringling Museum of Art: 941.360.7399.
In addition, the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival presents The Word Begins, an exhilarating performance where drama and comedy meet Hip-Hop culture, May 26 to 28 at 7:30 p.m. at The Historic Asolo Theater. The play, which includes adult language and content, is a journey of two men traversing the chaotic and confusing landscape of race, religion, sexuality, love, and mass communications. With insight, humor, and passion, they bring renewed life and electricity from the inner city to the shopping malls of the heartland. Tickets: $35, $30, $20 / Ringling Members: $30, $25, $15. Contact the Historic Asolo Theater Box Office at the Ringling Museum of Art: 941.360.7399.
As part of the Museum’s Art and a Movie series, curator Dr. Matthew McLendon leads an informal and informative Walk & Talk on Thursday June 2 at 6:00 p.m. through the galleries of Beyond Bling followed by a screening of Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary film that contains exclusive footage of Banksy and many graffiti artists at work at 7:30 p.m. in The Historic Asolo Theater. Tickets: $10 / Ringling Members: $5. Contact the Historic Asolo Theater Box Office at the Ringling Museum of Art: 941.360.7399.
On Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. renowned photographer, author, and lecturer James Prigoff draws from his collection of more than 80,000 images to illustrate and discuss his insights and advocacy of street art during a ViewPoints Lecture in the Historic Asolo Theater. Tickets: $20 / Ringling Members: $15 (Free for Contributor level members and above). $5 for Florida college students and college/university faculty with valid school ID. Contact the Historic Asolo Theater Box Office at the Ringling Museum of Art: 941.360.7399.
Scala Publishers Inc. New York and London is also publishing a book by Dr. Matthew McLendon titled Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art that features interviews with 6 of the 10 artists to coincide with the exhibition. It will have worldwide English language distribution.