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Damon Dash’s Gallery Gets ‘Kinetic’

BAUER-GRIFFIN

Descending from the elaborate spiral staircase at the center of his DD172 media compound last night, Roc-A-Fella founder Damon Dash greeted a crowd to introduce ‘Kinetic’ – his gallery’s current art show that comments on history in a multitude of pieces. “I’m all about controversy,” he explained to a knowing crowd. “Where’s the drama in this show?”

According to the Dash Gallery director Nyssa Frank, the show’s drama is in history. The exhibit mirrors the pastiche of past, present and future that often makes hip-hop so enjoyable. In one piece, artist Andrew Russell Thomas has created a totem structure out of found materials, floor speakers and a microphone that freely swings, creating a hypnotic feedback loop spurred on by physical interaction from the audience.Another favorite was a video from Shani Peters that nostalgically samples characters from ‘The Cosby Show‘ and ‘Good Times‘ and splices them into conversations with former Black Panther founder Bobby Steale (who is also sampled on ‘Tears of Joy’ off of Rick Ross‘ new album, ‘Telfon Don’). There are a series of vinyl records next to the screen that feature poems written in response to the Sean Bell verdict. Each record sports an etched diagram of Africa.

Much has been made of Dash’s recent evolution, but it’s fascinating to actually see his new venture in action. As the show’s artists explained their work, guitar notes fluttered throughout the building, a tap dancer prepared to perform and various artists, musicians and photographers buzzed around the space. Recently, hip-hop fans are most familiar with Dash’s patronage of Curren$y, Ski Beatz and last year’s Blakroc project, but he’s equally focused on fostering a creative environment for the fine art world, too.

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