Graffiti wall panel
CON / Tim Conlon and Dave Hupp, 2007 / Montana spray paint on Sintra panel / Tim Conlon and Dave Hupp

What does it mean to bring the energy and aesthetic vibrancy of hip hop into a Smithsonian museum? Some visitors to the current National Portrait Gallery exhibition, "RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture," on view until October 26, 2008, love the paintings, photographs, graffiti, installation, video, and poetry on view. 


Others are not so sure.  One recent visitor commented: “With pretty, polite framed portraits an art form based in combating oppression and the distinct yearning to be heard of creating something NEW is muted.  Hip Hop is many things.  This show only creates a palatable unchallenged portrait of hip hop—decreasing the impact of this transformational art form.”  See the show and tell us what you think.