Portrait Gallery's Hip-Hop Exhibition Opens Friday

"RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture," which opens Friday at the National Portrait Gallery, puts a uniquely modern spin on the age-old tradition of portraiture.Visitors are greeted to the exhibit by bright graffiti art painted on a trompe l’oeil train, which was the subject of an articl...


But in the hip-hop show, the inclusion of a grittier culture has produced discussion. A recent newspaper editorial decried the glorification of graffiti art, and at least one woman at Tuesday’s press briefing asked whether it was right to include rappers who sing about violence and other unsavory topics.

Curator Frank Goodyear's response is that art isn’t always clean. "There’s nothing marginal about hip-hop," he said. "Hip-hop is at the very center of our culture… It is one of the key cultural achievements of the last 20 to 30 years."

And photographer Scheinbaum’s work hopes to show that the negative stereotypes "represent only a small part of the larger significance."

Any thoughts?

(Photograph of KRS One, Paramount, Santa Fe, NM, By David Scheinbaum, Gelatin silver print, 2002, courtesy of David Scheinbaum; © David Scheinbaum)

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