Yasiin Bey Is Opening A Gallery In One Of The South Bronx's Most Gentrified Neighborhoods
The rapper, alongside advertising executive Free Richardson, is opening a gallery in the South Bronx next month called The Compound. The space will be located in the Port Morris neighborhood that’s been rebranded as the “Piano District,” according to a report from artnet News.
Bey and Richardson chose the Bronx because of its history with early hip-hop culture, and hope that the gallery will bridge hip-hop and fine art.
“The gallery will serve as a space for all mediums of art,” Bey told artnet News. “Free will run day-to-day operations alongside staff and I will bring in curatorial and special projects.”
“For me everything is art,” Richardson added. “What often happens is that certain artists don’t get a fair chance, and a lot of galleries don’t accept certain artists. The whole blue-chip world isn’t fair because certain artists that are just as good will never be accepted.”
The first show at The Compound will display the work of photographer Jonathan Mannion. Mannion took pictures of rappers such as Nas, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and Eminem throughout the ’90s. The event will take place sometime in mid-August.
The neighborhood that the space will reportedly be in has received controversy since 2015 when real-estate developers Somerset Partners and The Chetrit Group first put up a billboard referring to the Port Morris area as the Piano District. As dnainfo first reported, “The sign has hit a nerve with some South Bronx residents who view it as an indication that their longtime worries about gentrification in the neighborhood could now be coming true.”
To make matters worse, the two developers hosted a “Bronx Is Burning” rave that same year that featured props such as burnt-out, bullet-riddled cars, and flaming trash barrels.
In related news, Bey discussed what hip-hop means to him.
“For me, [Hip-Hop] means everything familiar and homegrown,” the rapper said to radio and TV personality Ed Lover. “…I guess that question…what’s called ‘Hip-Hop’ and what we were doing are two different things, but [the culture] is like a family member — anything homegrown and dear.”
Source: artnet News