On Thursday, Sept. 18th, 2014, The East Village Eye Archive, in conjunction with Printed Matter, Inc., presented the First "Officially Sanctioned" Back Issue Selloff,
in which selected copies of the Eye were put on sale to the public…as well as the fabulous
t-shirt designs sporting historical East Village Eye covers that you can also see at our store.
To mark this big selloff event, we presented a mini-symposium entitled “How Hip Hop Came Downtown,”
covering the process in which members of New York’s media and fine art communities brought rap music, graffiti
art and breakdancing from the inner-city ghettos to a wider audience that has since spread across the world. Leading this discussion
were Eye publisher/editor Leonard Abrams, musician and multimedia artist Michael Holman, scholar Yazmin Ramirez, and the celebrated
artist and media figure Fab 5 Freddy. Guest appearances were made by author/journalist and Eye alumn Steven Hager, artist John Ahearn and photographer Lisa Kahane, all of whom added invaluable insights into the dynamics at play during this fertile time. Watch for video footage of the event coming here soon.
Fab 5 Freddy
Born Fred Brathwaite in NYC’s “Do or Die Bed Stuy,” Fab 5 Freddy has been making history and changing our world with groundbreaking contributions in music, film, art and cultural ambassadorship from the early 1980s to the present day. Fab took part in the tremendously influential Times Square Show in 1980, out of which he began his collaboration with Charlie Ahearn in the first film about hip hop, "Wild Style." A leading artist in the graffiti/aerosol/street art movement, Fab still found time to direct music videos and contribute to choice musical cuts like “Rapture,” “Change The Beat” and numerous other pop music hits. Today, as he continues to paint and exhibit, he also curates art shows, writes articles and hosts events showcasing key developments in the African Diaspora experience as it impacts the world.
Michael Holman, the first writer to officially use the term hip hop in on the printed page (East Village Eye, January, 1982), has had a crucial hand in the popularization of culture that sprang from some of New York’s most underserved communities, from which he organized revolutionary breakdancers into The Rock Steady Crew and The New York City Breakers. He also created the first nationally syndicated hip hop television show, Graffiti Rock and promoted numerous other forms of nascent hip hop expression. Holman, who was a founding member of the band Grey along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, later wrote the screenplay to the film Basquiat, recounting the seminal artist’s life and tragic end. Today, Holman teaches Mass Media at CCNY and continues to be active as an artist, writer and lecturer in the field of contemporary urban culture, film, theater and art.
Yasmin Ramirez, Ph.D. is an art historian and independent curator. Growing up during the heyday of the Alternative Art Space Movement in New York, Yasmin Ramirez has worked at Taller Boricua, El Museo Del Barrio, The Studio Museum, The New Museum, Art in General, the Alternative Museum, Franklin Furnace and the East Village Eye. While at the Eye, she was instrumental in exposing the talents of young graffiti art
pioneers to the recognized art world and beyond. She is currently writing a book based on her dissertation: Nuyorican Vanguards: The Puerto Rican Art Movement in New York.