Gavin Brown Hosting Exhibition on Hip Hop’s Early Years

A Buddy Esquire flyer from 1981. Courtesy the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection.

Last year Manhattan dealer Gavin Brown hosted a live archiving of hip hop legend Afrika Bambaataa’s record collection, and now his West Village gallery complex is slated to house a historical exhibition of artifacts from Cornell University’s hip hop collection. Organized by Boo-Hooray, and drawing on Cornell’s holdings of some 200,000 objects—including those Bambaataa LPs from last year’s live-archiving—the show at Gavin Brown is titled “Born In The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop” and slated to run June 26 through July 29.

Objects on view will include some of Bambaataa’s hand-written lyrics, hand-painted clothes and original artwork by prolific flyer artist Buddy Esquire, original stills and animation from Charlie Ahearn’s seminal graffiti documentary “Wild Style,” and photographs of the nascent hip hop scene by Joe Conzo. A sonic installation in the gallery will serve to play video and audio from the personal collection of Breakbeat Lenny Roberts.

Other goodies lined up for the historical show are a roster of surprise DJs playing in the space, and crate-fulls of duplicate LPs from Bambaataa’s collection will be for sale—complete with stickers for proof of provenance—on a first-come, first-served basis. Likewise available in a limited supply (of 150 editions) will be a screenprint portrait of Bambaataa by Paul Insect. In light of all the celebrity DJs likely to turn up and limited edition schwag to snap up, you’ll probably want to arrive early to Thursday’s opening.

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