Village Voice 04.19.2017 : Page 38

38 April 19 April 25, 2017 VILLAGE VOICE.com ENTER TO WIN Fab5Freddy/DanBradic (2) Fab 5 Freddy’s Afro-Greco #6 (2016), left, and Abstract Remix Rusto (2013) at Pioneer Works Absolutely Fabulous MAY 4 PEN AMERICA WORLD VOICES FESTIVAL Westbeth 55 Bethune St., NYC F villagevoice.com/free/ penworldvoices Campbell Soup canvases. It’s a theme he’s explored before: In 1980, Fab covered an entire subway car with his own Krylon-happy take on the iconic soup cans. The influence of Warhol — also a writer and ilmmaker — extended beyond painting; his example showed that an artist’s work could take multiple At Pioneer Works, hip-hop icon Fab 5 Freddy draws from history forms. “Jean [Basquiat] made ilms and to combine street and ine art music too. And Keith Haring was inter-ested in animating his work,” Fab says. “We up on all this shit.” BY SASHA BONÉT Gabriel Florenz, the director of Pioneer Works, grew up in California tino youth who were made to think we or many Americans of a certain idolizing Fab 5 Freddy and the street art were always doing something wrong.” age, the initial exposure to hip-movement. As a young artist, he would Growing up in Bed-Stuy with politically hop came by way of the break-sit with his friends and spend hours active parents, the young Fab (born Fred down on Blondie’s 1981 hit, watching Wild Style on repeat. “It was like Brathwaite in 1959) would tag along with “Rapture,” the part where Debbie Harry my History Channel for New York City,” his father to lectures in Africana studies, rapped, “Fab 5 Freddy told me every-he says. A few months ago, Florenz went the kind of history he would never see body’s fly.” Thirty-six years later, the ig-to visit Fab’s Harlem studio, where he was in the textbooks given to him in school. ure she was name-checking has proved struck by the pieces he saw and by the By the Seventies, he was bombing trains himself no mere footnote. Fab started as narrative that inspired them. “We wanted with the trailblazing graf iti crew the Fab-a teenager on the New York graf iti scene to create a dialogue around the cultural ulous Five and immersing himself in the and — alongside Keith Haring and Jean-signi icance of street art in New York world of Andy Warhol’s Factory. With the Michel Basquiat — helped bridge the gap City,” says Florenz, who tabbed the artist works in “Afro-Greco” — in which he jux-between street art and the moneyed for Pioneer Works’ irst show dedicated taposes repeating motifs of African tribal world of galleries and collectors. Since to the form. “Fab is a history book. He masks and Greek urns, set off by the vi-then, he has gone on to write, produce, incorporates that into his work and into brant wildstyle lettering of his youth — and compose music; feature in the 1983 the space.” he revisits these aspects of his heritage, cult ilm classic Wild Style ; host the irst A natural oral historian, Fab can tell along with a dash of ancient history. internationally broadcast hip-hop show, you about the myriad ways New York City “It speaks to the advanced civiliza-Yo! MTV Raps , in the late Eighties; direct has transformed, about the people and tions that were already taking place music videos for artists including Nas movements that acted as cat-before Greece became the and Snoop Dogg in the Nineties; and alysts for that change. He can basis for a lot of Western even appear in Jonathan Demme’s Rachel take you on a journey through thought,” he says. “I just Getting Married in 2008. More recently, Fab 5 Freddy: the names, dates, streets, and wanted to create a visual the downtown trendsetter has taken ‘Afro-Greco’ hideouts that de ined the for that.” Three canvases things back to where he started with the Pioneer Works world of his Eighties crew. exploring these connec-solo exhibition “Afro-Greco,” currently 159 Pioneer Street, Decades later, Fab 5 Freddy tions are joined by three on display at Pioneer Works. Brooklyn is one of the few remaining earlier works that riff on In the Seventies, according to Fab, pioneerworks.org, artists from that scene still pop art: in one, the base of there was no real recognition of graf iti 718596 3001 practicing the craft, and still red-and-white spray paint as an art form; he made it his mission to Through April 23 keeping things fly. cans recalls Warhol’s “create a better image for Black and La-

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