Friday, 1st Mar 2013
D.C. Subcultures of the 1980s
Washington D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art has recently opened a new exhibition, looking at the visual culture created by local subcultural groups during the 1980s. Aside from its obvious significance as America’s capital city, D.C. has a vibrant musical history, acting as the birthplace for the ‘Go-Go’ funk movement pioneered by the likes of Chuck Brown, as well as a world-renowned punk and hardcore scene.
Various Hardcore 7" records, 1980s. Photo by Aaron Farley. Collection of Roger Gastman.
Pump Me Up features photos, flyers, posters, records, stage clothes, instruments and video footage all made between 1980 and 1992, effectively bringing the era back to life within the gallery space. Alongside D.C's emerging music scenes came the birth of a stripped-down street art movement. The exhibition features sections devoted to some of the area’s most iconic graffiti art, as well as concert posters made by the Baltimore-based Globe printing press.
Go-go graffiti by GO-GO SHORTY, c. 1985. Photo by EON.
In addition to the exhibition comes the release of a 320-page book of the same name, complete with foreword by Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran. A special 90 minute documentary will also be released, looking at the life of local graffiti legend Cool ‘Disco’ Dan. Narrated by former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, the film includes interviews with Chuck brown, civil rights advocate Walter Fauntroy and several prolific graffiti artists.
Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s will be held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from February 23rd – April 7th, 2013.