Art Papers  

more from the
Jan/Feb 2014 issue:

Render, R.A.P. Music, & "Reagan": Killer Mike & The Hip-Hop Imagination
by Joycelyn Wilson

Eye Candy Is Dandy: Rashaad Newsome's Hip-Hop Heraldry & the New Black Swag
by Katie Cercone

January/February 2014: ART x HIP-HOP
Letter from the Guest Editor

Mic check, 1-2, 1-2 ...

Welcome to the Art x Hip-Hop issue of ART PAPERS.

As with my own work, this issue is dedicated to investigating hip-hop and contemporary art—not as isolated encounters, but rather where they intersect, how they complement and enhance each other, and, ultimately, how in conversation they act to transgress the status quo.

What hip-hop brings to the art establishment is refreshing, inviting, and frankly—fun.

In return, through its engagement with the high arts, hip-hop is elevated beyond its status as a subculture and into a more serious cultural and critical purview.

Over the last few years, and certainly in recent months, the mashup between contemporary art and hip-hop has taken center stage.

We've had the privilege of experiencing some really compelling projects and collaborations between visual and hip-hop artists that have pushed the boundaries of both art forms. Whether we're talking record-breaking crowds of hip-hop fans crammed into MoMA PS1's courtyard, multimedia collaborations between Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami, or experiencing Urs Fischer through the eyes of Kanye West, the game has most certainly changed.

I predict that what we've seen thus far is only the beginning. There is certainly much more to come. I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to engage these burgeoning questions in the pages of this journal. Now seems an appropriate time to open a dialog that does more than see hip-hop as novelty, or contemporary art as unapproachable.

I invite my colleagues in the arts community to shed your inhibitions about hip-hop culture. In it is a liberating energy that calls to the unpredictable and creative spirit of the fine arts. Likewise, to my friends in the hip-hop community, I implore you to open your minds to the wealth of inspiration and innovation that is born in the visual arts. Know that hip-hop culture has its roots there and only from there can it continue to bloom.

Now, let's get this thing started ... and ... bass up the track a little,
I wanna hear that boom-chh-boom ... you know what I'm sayin'!?!

—Fahamu Pecou, Guest Editor

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