The Portraits

Staff member working in collections and putting a painting away

Fab 5 Freddy

Jane Dickson, born 1952
Fab 5 Freddy, born 1960
Oil on canvas-backed vinyl
Stretcher: 101.9 × 127.3 × 1.9cm (40 1/8 × 50 1/8 × 3/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Jane Dickson
Object number
Fab 5 Freddy: American\African American
Exhibition Label
Between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, hip-hop developed from a New York City urban subculture of African American and Puerto Rican youth into a powerful industry that had become the most widely listened-to music genre internationally. Fred Brathwaite, aka Fab 5 Freddy, was instrumental to this process. Coming out of the street art scene during the 1970s, which included luminaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Brathwaite derived his nickname from his association with the Fabulous 5 graffiti group that painted the sides of the city’s subways. Through graffiti exhibitions that he curated in the galleries and rock clubs of downtown Manhattan, Fab 5 Freddy helped connect street culture with the city’s art scene. In 1988 he became the host of MTV’s first foray into rap: Yo! MTV Raps.
Jane Dickson painted this portrait in 1982, the same year she co-produced the hip-hop cult movie Wild Style with Fab 5 Freddy and Charlie Ahearn.
Jane Dickson [1952]; sold to (Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects (SHAFP)), New York.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
20th Century Americans: 1950 to 1990
On View
NPG, South Gallery 342
United States\New York