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August 30-October 29, 2023
Kaplan Gallery

Curator’s Statement
In acknowledgment of the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop, I’m thrilled to present LYRICS TO GO. This two-person exhibit locates the influence of hip hop poetics, writing, and literature in contemporary art practices as both conceptual and literal points of departure.


Artists Ebon Heath and Tahir Hemphill both incorporate and build from writing in their respective works. Rather than merely speaking or hearing words, they use sculpture and technology to transform words into objects that expand our experience of rap music. Their works can be viewed as an evolution of the hip hop discipline of graffiti and as an original perspective of the impact of hip hop on the art world. The conversation that emerges between these two artists, and subsequently between the works and its audience, is a powerful one that speaks to the ongoing relevance and impact of hip hop culture. Through their use of different mediums, Heath and Hemphill demonstrate the versatility and complexity of hip hop poetics, showcasing how it can be translated and reimagined in new and innovative ways.


The exhibit is a celebration of hip hop’s past, present, and future, highlighting its enduring influence on contemporary art and culture. It invites viewers to engage with hip hop on a deeper level, to explore its rich history, and to consider its ongoing significance in our world today. Overall, the exhibit serves as a testament to the power and enduring relevance of hip hop and its impact on the world of art.

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