Exhibition Statement

Exhibition Statement

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.

John Fekner, Curator