In October 2009, media outlets throughout the world marked the thirtieth anniversary of the rap single largely credited with spreading hip-hop culture across America and, eventually, the world. The Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight was the first hip-hop expression to make the leap from the neighborhoods of the South Bronx, New York to the nation. Over thirty years later, hip-hop has become a dominant part of popular culture. Hip-hop is now ubiquitous and it is little surprise that its influence can be seen in contemporary art.
Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art is the first exhibition to take a focused look at the work of ten artists who all operate within and are informed by hip-hop culture. All of the work displayed has been produced within the first decade of the new millennium providing a snapshot of what is happening in art at this moment. The artists here cannot and should not simply be pigeonholed as hip-hop artists, because there is no single way to define that term. They are a diverse mix of African American, Latino/a, Japanese American, British, Caucasian, gay, male and female. Hip-hop's appeal, today, comes from this diversity and inclusiveness. Like all of us, these artists live in a world infused with hip-hop flavors.
SOFIA MALDONADO, Concrete Jungle Divas, 2010
Courtesy of Magnan Metz Gallery, New York