MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Iconic photos of a changing city, and commentary on our Collections & Exhibitions from the crew at MCNY.org

The Mash-Up

Hip-Hop Revolution, opening at the City Museum tomorrow, April 1, 2015 showcases the work of New York-based photographers Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper, who chronicled the evolution of hip hop in its first decades. Each artist presents a distinctive perspective; put together, their work traces the movement from nascent youth subculture to mainstream phenomenon.

From left to right, photos by Martha Cooper (1983), Joe Conzo (1981) and Janette Beckman (1987)

From left to right, photos by Martha Cooper (1983), Joe Conzo (1981) and Janette Beckman (1987)

Just before Christmas 1982, Janette Beckman arrived in New York City from her native England, eager to explore the origins of the globally-expanding hip-hop movement. Already an established photographer of English youth culture and punk music for various magazines, she began photographing many of the seminal figures of hip hop, capturing artists like Run DMC, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, and the Beastie Boys at the beginnings of their careers. Her new work appeared in Esquire and Rolling Stone, and on album covers for record companies like Sleeping Bag Records, Elektra, Tommy Boy, and Warner Brothers.

QUEEN ANDREA_RUN DMC

Janette Beckman & Queen Andrea Run DMC, Hollis Queens 1984/2014

Janette Beckman & Part One Eric B & Rakim, New York City 1987/2014

Janette Beckman & Part One
Eric B & Rakim, New York City 1987/2014

Since 2014, Beckman has mined her archives for a new collaborative project entitled The Mash-up. Collaborating with many of New York’s best-known graffiti artists, this new series fuses many of the Beckman’s iconic portraits with a fantastic range of artists. The lineup includes early 1970s train-era graffiti writers Jester,Part One, Trike, and Zephyr on through later generations including Claw Money, Queen Andrea, and Faust.

The series was conceived and curated by artist and designer Cey Adams. Adams selected the participants, and Beckman let each artist choose a photo from her archive to reinterpret in their own distinct style, creating new works of art. Of the pieces on view, several are being exhibited for the first time. To me, each entirely unique piece represents a hip-hop collaboration at its purest.

Janette Beckman & Dr. Revolt Ultramagnetic MCs, New York City 1989/2014

Janette Beckman & Dr. Revolt
Ultramagnetic MCs, New York City 1989/2014

Janette Beckman & CES Big Daddy Kane, New York City 1988/2015

Janette Beckman & CES
Big Daddy Kane, New York City 1988/2015

4 comments on “The Mash-Up

  1. Pingback: Sister From Another Planet » ‘The Mash-Up’ series by Janette Beckman, part of Hip Hop Revolution @ The Museum of the City of NY

  2. NotManhattan
    April 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on Today Eye Found and commented:
    Without having even seen this yet (will be soon) I feel confident in recommending anyone living or visiting in NYC to go and enjoy. (On now through Sept 13th.)

  3. Pingback: Photos Of Your Favorite Hip-Hop Artists Before They Were Famous | moomblr!

  4. Pingback: HIP-HOP REVOLUTION: PHOTOGRAPHS BY JANETTE BECKMAN, JOE CONZO, AND MARTHA COOPER | ALLACCESS

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2015 by in Exhibitions and tagged , , .

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