Home Arts & Culture THE CULTURE: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century – Announcements

THE CULTURE: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century – Announcements

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Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt dedicates a major interdisciplinary exhibition to hip hop’s profound influence on current artistic and cultural landscape, from February 29 until May 26, 2024.

Hip hop first emerged in the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s as a cultural movement among Black and Latinx youth. It quickly proliferated through large-scale block parties to encompass an entire culture that focuses around four pillars: MCing (or rapping); DJing; breaking (or breakdancing); and graffiti writing and visual art. From its inception, hip hop critiqued dominant structures and cultural narratives and offered new avenues for expressing diasporic experiences and creating alternative systems of power—which lead to a fifth pillar of social and political consciousness and knowledge-building. Hip hop has now evolved into a global phenomenon that has driven numerous innovations in music, fashion, and technology, as well as the visual and performing arts.

Grounded in the origins of hip hop in the US yet with a focus on art and music, the exhibition THE CULTURE features over 100 artworks mainly from the last twenty years, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, and fashion, by internationally renowned contemporary artists such as Lauren Halsey, Julie Mehretu, Tschabalala Self, Arthur Jafa, Khalil Joseph, Virgil Abloh, and Gordon Parks. It is structured around six themes: Pose, Brand, Adornment, Tribute, Ascension, and Language. THE CULTURE illuminates hip hop’s unprecedented economic, social, and cultural resources that have made hip hop a global phenomenon and established it as the artistic canon of our time. The exhibition furthermore addresses contemporary issues and debates—from identity, racism, and appropriation to sexuality, feminism, and empowerment.

Sebastian Baden, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, says: “Hip hop is a socially formative and influential cultural movement. The Schirn is presenting THE CULTURE for the first time in Germany in an artistic exhibition context. In collaboration with our international partners, we show the immense influence that hip hop has had on contemporary art and pop culture in the past twenty years. With an extensive accompanying program, the Schirn additionally features the local hip hop scene—both its connections and its differences to US history, as well as contemporary debates around empowerment and identity.”

The exhibition is co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum, and is presented in collaboration with Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The exhibition at the Schirn continues at the Kunstverein Familie Montez with the video installation ISDN by Stan Douglas, and is supplemented by an exhibition on the milestones of hip hop at MOMEM, a film series on the fifty-year history of hip hop at the DFF—Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and an event organized by the Diamant Offenbach: Museum of Urban Culture.

An expansive catalog with contributions from more than 50 artists, writers, scholars, curators, and arts leaders has been published as well as a broschure. 

The exhibition and publications are supported by an extensive network of advisors, including community members, artists, and scholars who focus on hip hop.

THE CULTURE: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century is supported by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain with additional support by Deutsche Börse Group.
The exhibition is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Director: Dr. Sebastian Baden
Curators: Baltimore Museum of Art: Asma Naeem (Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director) and Gamynne Guillotte (former Chief Educa­tion Officer). Saint Louis Art Museum: Hannah Klemm (former Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art) and Andréa Purnell (Community Collaborations Manager) 
Schirn Project Manager: Matthias Ulrich (Curator Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt)
Press contact: Johanna Pulz (Head of Press/Public Relations): =(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);});return false”>presse [​at​] schirn.de / T +49 (0) 69 29 98 82 148
Press material: schirn.de/en/newsroom

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