In the 1970s, two major
communication systems were in their primal infancy. Both
fiber optics and graffiti were complex and dense networks,
proliferating in the bowels of New York City. One heralded
by corporate industry, the other emerging as part of the
hip-hop infrastructure from the urban streets.
Over the next two decades,
both systems multiplied with efficiency and lightning speed.
Graffiti with its brash, cryptic letterform style, splashed
across every surface and wall and was daunting and indecipherable
to most New Yorkers, decoded only by the "writers"
who were communicating to each other. Equally unintelligible
and confusing, was the computer language of "geeks"
armed with an arsenal of bits and bytes that began to swarm
and invade our thought processes and everyday existence.
Whether you consider that
they are inextricably linked or not, these forms of communication
exist as foundational tools that compel numerous artists
to explore and create in this new century. Some of the artists
use data systems to express their vision in video, sound
and print in a complex collage of icons, pixels and picas.
Technically speaking, the artists in this exhibition utilize
an array of color systems to fit the medium whether it is
a 256 color web palette, Krylon®, Winsor & Newton®,
Pantone® or NTSC color video. Pixelization in computer-generated
art today is as confounding to the viewer as a drip of paint
was in a Jackson Pollock painting fifty years ago.
The exhibition traces
a historical path backwards, at the same time encouraging
the viewer to experience urban folk art, crossover media
and interactive work within a museum setting. The artists
share a sensibility in questioning, provoking, searching
and discerning what is obscure to most individuals. Most
of the work embodies and reflects the uniqueness and spirit
of creating art in New York City. I believe the artists
in this exhibit make an honest and heartfelt attempt to
strive for an ideal that is not always attainable: building
a connection with the audience and shaping an emotional
bond with the viewer. This exhibition is not so much about
hip-hop per se, as it is about considering work that embodies
and reflects some of the uniqueness and spirit of the culture.