Photography: The Culture: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few weeks — or my social media accounts, you’d recall that I was in Baltimore earlier this month for a family reunion. It was also was the first time that I traveled with my mom as an adult — and her first time that she had been to Charm City.

On our only full day of the trip, we stopped at Miss Shirley‘s for brunch. We then went to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Founded over 100 years ago, the Baltimore Museum of Art was founded on the belief that access to art and ideas is integral to a vibrant and healthy civic life. That belief is at the heart of the museum — and it remains their core value.

As a museum, the BMA has long focused on acquiring art of the present moment, while maintaining and deepening a historic collection consistently made relevant through vigorous development and reinterpretation in all collecting areas. As a result, the BMA has assembled and presented one of the most important collections of 18th-20th Century art in the US.


Since its emergence in the Bronx in the early 1970s, hip hop has grown into a global phenomenon, driving innovations in music, fashion, technology and visual and performing arts.

Coinciding with this year’s 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop., The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century captures the towering and extraordinary influence hip hop has had on contemporary society through more than 90 works of art and fashion by some of the most important and celebrated artists and iconic brands of today.

Co-organized with the Saint Louis Art Museum, The Culture explores the past two decades of hip hop through a wide range of painting, sculpture, photography, installations, video and fashion organized into six themes: Language, Brand, Adornment, Tribute, Ascension, and Pose.

“Hip hop’s impact, meaning, and influence are both imperceivable and obvious, and are felt, in equal measure, across both mainstream culture and fine art in the U.S. and abroad,” says Asma Naeem, the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of the BMA. “With this exhibition, we are developing a greater depth of scholarship about hip hop, and how it appears as its own canon in so many aspects of contemporary artmaking, allowing us to better understand its distinct qualities and the reasons why it has so deeply embedded itself in the global psyche.”

It was a fascinating exhibit that me and my family devoured for the better part of a couple of hours. Of course, I took photos and just loved the entire thing.

Caption: Zeh Palito’s It was all a dream, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Hassan Hajjaj’s Cardi B Unity, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Roberto Lugo’s Street Shrine, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Carrie Mae Weems’ Anointed, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: El Franco Lee II’s DJ Screw in Heaven, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Michael Vasquez’s Chain Struggle, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Adam Pendleton’s Untitled, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Nina Chanel Abney’s Untitled, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day Guccisima Leather Down Jacket, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Jayson Musson’s Trying to find our spot in that light, light off in that spot, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Shirt’s Don’t Talk To Me About No Significance of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: William Cordova’s Moby Dick (for Oscar Wilde, Oscar Romero y Oscar Grant), Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Hank Willis Thomas’ Black Power, Baltimore Museum of Art
Maxwell Alexandre’s I saw things I imagined, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Mark Bradford’s Biggie, Biggie,. Biggie, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Gajin Fujita’s Ride or Die, Baltimore Museum of Art.
Caption: Gajin Fujita’s Ride or Die, Baltimore Museum of Art.
Caption: Shinique Smith’s Shortysugarhoneybabydon’tbedistracted, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Alvaro Barrington’s They Have They Can’t, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Derrick Adams’ Heir to the Throne, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton Keepali Bag, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Rozael’s divine selektah . . .big up (after yoshitoshi’s moon of the filial son), Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Damon Davis’ Cracks XIX (EGO), Baltimore Museum of Art.
Caption: Robert Hodge’s Promise You Will Sing About Me, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Robert Hodge’s Promise You Will Sing About Me, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Amani Lewis’ Swamp Boy, Baltimore Museum of Art
Caption: Megan Lewis’ Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Baltimore Museum of Art.
Caption: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s 8am Cadiz, Baltimore Museum of Art