Haute Hip Hop

Hip hop’s influence in fashion is top of mind lately.  I mean, you can’t even walk down the street without hearing Yeezy-this or did-you-see-my-new Yeezy that. But the idea of hip hop influencing fashion is nothing new. Maybe not as mainstream as Kanye’s Yeezy, but hip hop has been influencing fashion since its roots in the 70’s in the South Bronx. The Central West End gallery, Projects + Gallery would agree. Their latest show, called Haute Hip Hop, traces hip hop’s influence through the decades. To quote the gallery, “This exhibit examines the progress of hip hop style and influence, rooted in its music, art and attitude…”

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There are a dozen or so photographs from various artists lining one wall, a standout being  the two of Tupac from the mid-90’s. There are also works by Fahamu Pecou, Kehnide Wiley, Mickalene Thomas and Jermaine Clark. Fantich & Young have a pair of shoes, who’s sole is made up entirely of teeth and a set of bedazzled headphones. There is a gorgeous black and white Moschino dress as well as a Valentino strapless number, bearing the print of Jean Michel Basquiat. Wonderfully displayed behind the Valentino dress are at least 2 dozen Basquiat prints. They are awesome- colorful and done in his trademark, almost childlike style. But when I asked the gallery worker why the Basquiat’s weren’t listed in the program? That’s when things got fun:

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The pieces are part of the private collection of the gallery owner and were bought at an estate sale in New York. Apparently the original owner was getting old and wanted to clean house, but never knew if the works were authentic. All are signed “Basquiat” on the back, but their provenance has never been determined. The gallery is in the process of getting them authenticated (what that entails I do not know, but I assure you I wanted to ask).  If they are indeed his, someone is sitting on a very colorful goldmine. And if they aren’t real?  Well…maybe then I can afford to buy one.

The show runs thru March 12th.

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