Hip Hop Portraiture at the National Gallery

Finding myself in DC with a few idle hours yesterday afternoon, on a tip from Chris Blattman I checked out the National Portrait Gallery's Hip Hop & Contemporary Portraiture exhibit. I was mostly curious which version of hip hop would be presented to the country alongside portraits of George Washington and Pierre L'Enfant.

Luckily, they chose hip hop's better side. The creators were pithy enough to showcase photography, painting, graffiti, film and poetry from artists like Supernatural, Prince Paul, Nas, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Jean Grea and the Roots. A great group of artists, but there was a noticeable lack of Mobb Deep ("they only 19 but they mind is older, when things get for real their warm hearts turn colder) and Big Pun feat. Fat Joe.

I was clearly not the only one bothered by the lack of Fat Joe. I saw one family of tourists walking through the gallery with a befuddled look. After a few moments, the father proclaimed, "These aren't the Civil War portraits!"



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