As both the BBC and New York Times (NYT) report, the renewed International Center of Photography in New York is hosting a hip-hop photo exhibition. The exhibition titled Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, is currently the main event at The Centre.
NYT mentions that the exhibition was first seen at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, and is curated by the journalist Vikki Tobak, who previously put together a book and an Instagram account of the same name.
For NYT, the best materials are, “the many contact sheets, including Michael Lavine’s outtakes for the cover of OutKast’s album ‘Stankonia,’ and Eric Johnson’s shots of the rapper Eve strutting through New York in a floor-length robe.” For the BBC, on the other hand, it’s the fact that included in the project is the photographer behind the famous image of The Notorious B.I.G. wearing a crown.
In its review, NYT says that, “the principal wall texts do not name a single photographer, instead offering dubious platitudes like, ‘Hip-hop portraiture is about pausing to see the subjects for who they truly are.’ A whole wall is given to fresh inkjet prints of 1990s stars — Tupac and Jay, Missy and Mary. It will be easy to walk out of this show having ignored the actual achievements of photographers like Janette Beckman, Barron Claiborne and Al Pereira, whose talents are subordinated to Public Enemy, the Notorious B.I.G. and Queen Latifah.”