CORCORAN PRESENTS PUMP ME UP: D.C. SUBCULTURE OF THE 1980s
First museum exhibition to explore the visual culture of the era in Washington
February 23–April 7, 2013
Photo by Rosina Teri Memolo.
Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s is the first exhibition to explore the thriving underground of Washington, D.C., during the 1980s, giving visual form to the raucous energy of graffiti, Go-Go music, and a world-renowned punk and hardcore scene.
The exhibition explores the visual culture of the “other D.C.,” demonstrating its place in the history of street art as well as that of America’s capital city. In the midst of notorious problems with drugs and corruption, D.C. gave birth to an infectious visual culture captured in the exhibition through posters, graffiti, graphic art, archival photographs, and ephemera. Pump Me Up tells a local history from a local point of view, while providing a framework for the contemporary surge of interest in street art and underground graphics.
Pump Me Up traces the history of graffiti in Washington while emphasizing its inextricable ties to the burgeoning forms of local music. The exhibition highlights the vibrant scene that sprang up around Go-Go, a local form of funk pioneered by Chuck Brown and others, including the stripped-down “Go-Go graffiti” style. Started by neighborhood “crews,” this style became a hallmark of the D.C. style of graffiti writing. Around the same time, an underground hardcore and punk scene sprang up in venues like the Wilson Center and the 9:30 Club.
Ephemera, photos, flyers, posters, records, newspaper clippings, stage cloths, instruments, video loops, and much more, all made largely between 1980 and 1992, will fill the Corcoran’s Atrium and Rotunda, bringing the era to life. The exhibition includes sections on graffiti writers (notably the work of COOL “DISCO” DAN), the D.C. punk, hardcore, and Go-Go scenes, concert posters made by the Baltimore-based Globe printing press, and visual culture from the drug wars.
Photo by Aaron Farley. Collection of Roger Gastman.
A 320-page publication, entitled Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s, will be published alongside the exhibition. The book includes a foreword by Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran. “The Legend of COOL ‘DISCO’ DAN,” a 90-minute documentary about the storied local graffiti writer, will be released in tandem with the exhibition. The film, produced in collaboration with Joseph Pattisall, is narrated by Henry Rollins and features interviews with Chuck Brown, civil rights advocate Walter Fauntroy, Marion Barry, and graffiti writers including GO-GO TONYA F and Dan himself.
Pump Me Up is curated by Roger Gastman, who began writing graffiti as a teenager in Bethesda, Maryland. Since then, he has founded and published the pop culture magazines While You Were Sleeping and Swindle, with Shepard Fairey, and authored a dozen graffiti art books including The History of American Graffiti (with Caleb Neelon; 2011). In 2011 he curated, with Jeffrey Deitch and Aaron Rose, the exhibition Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Gastman’s film production credits include Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop and the graffiti documentary Wall Writers, and he is currently directing a documentary for Sanrio/Hello Kitty on the history of the brand and its fans. Iley Brown, Caleb Neelon, and Joseph Pattisall contributed to the development of this exhibition.
The exhibition is coordinated by Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran. For more information, visit http://www.corcoran.org/exhibitions/pump-me-dc-subculture-1980s.
The Corcoran’s hours of operation are as follows: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday. Beginning January 9, 2013, extended hours will change from Thursdays to Wednesdays. Admission to Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s is $10 for adults, and $8 for seniors (62+) and students (with valid ID). Children 12 and under, active duty military (with ID) and Corcoran Members enter for free.
Corcoran Gallery of Art membership offers special access to the Corcoran’s renowned collection, temporary exhibitions, lectures, films, concerts and an array of social events. Members also receive valuable discounts at the Corcoran Shop, Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran, and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Corcoran Members may visit Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s an unlimited number of times for free. For more information, contact the Membership office at (202) 639-1753, [email protected] or online at www.corcoran.org/membership.
ABOUT THE CORCORAN
Established in 1869, the Corcoran Gallery of Art was one of America’s first museums of art—dedicated, in the words of founder William Wilson Corcoran, to “encouraging American genius.” Today it is Washington, D.C.’s largest nonfederal art museum, known internationally for its distinguished collection of historical and modern American art as well as contemporary art, photography, European painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. A dynamic schedule of special exhibitions complements a range of educational programming, which together enrich the perspectives of the visiting public, support the local arts community, and encourage thoughtful interpretation of today’s most compelling social issues. The Corcoran College of Art + Design was founded as a school of art in 1890 and stands as Washington’s only four-year accredited college of art and design. The College is one of the few in the nation whose educational model includes an integral relationship with a museum, fostering the talent of the next generation of artists. For more information about the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, visit www.corcoran.org.
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
The Corcoran is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
*The Museum offers extended hours every Thursday until 9 p.m. until January 9, 2013, when extended hours will be every Wednesday until 9 p.m.*
Wednesday through Friday and Sunday: $10 Adults; $8 full-time students (with ID) and seniors (62+); children under 12 free; Corcoran Members free.