Morrison Hotel Gallery on Bowery Presents: Roots of Punk and Hip Hop

B&W photo of a younger punk rocker pointing to a wall with burnt out stars spray painted on it - a woman in a head scarf walking by in front

Legendary music photographers Janette Beckman and David Corio (left and right, below) have an excellent exhibition going on now at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Bowery, right next to the old CBGB (which is now a John Varvatos outlet), and if you were alive and in love with music in the late 1970s and 1980s, it's kind of a must-see show. Titled Catch the Beat: The Roots of Punk and Hip Hop Photography, Beckman and Corio's exhibition features scads of insanely great images–some familiar, many of which we had never before seen–of the icons of the era.


Janette Beckman and David Corio with a dark haired woman pose in front of a catch the beat poster

Here, for example, are Public Enemy, from the mid '80s, posing in an unlikely rural setting. Corio, who was on hand at the Morrison Hotel Gallery and, even better, was nice enough to chat with us a bit, told us that the shot was actually taken in Hyde Park, and that he had to hold back the suits just trying to walk through the park on the way to the office, and who had no clue who Chuck D, Flava Flav, Terminator X and the S1Ws were, other than a crew of oddly dressed young men making them late for work. Corio's portrait of Biz Markie (below) flashing his chains is a great photograph, too (we had the pleasure of shaking Markie's hand back in the mid-'80s, and he couldn't have been more pleasant… nor more HUGE), as is his silhouetted shot of Afrika Bambaataa, scratching in London.    

Photograph of Biz Markie flashing his bling necklaces in China Town on display at the Morrison Hotel on the Bowery

Paul Weller and Pete Townsend pose in front of a gated shop in NYC - photograph on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC

Other favorites of ours included Beckman's Shane MacGowan (top), goofing for the camera in 1981, looking so young and even sort of healthy; her side-by-side portrait of Paul Weller and Pete Townsend (above) on a London street, both impeccably styled; and her shot of Eazy-E, below, sitting so still and looking so dangerous, taken at the height of his N.W.A. fame (or, notoriety). Debbie Harry, RZA, the Notorious B.I.G., Salt 'n' Pepa, Boy George, Johnny Ramone, Joe Strummer… the list of (our own personal) heroes goes on and on, all nice and large and gorgeously reproduced. If you're anywhere near the Morrison Hotel Gallery over the next couple of weeks, Beckman and Corio's Catch the Beat is well worth a visit.      

Eazy-E sitting on a stoop with a raiders hat and radio t-shirt on in NYC

Catch the Beat: The Roots of Punk and Hip Hop Photography at the Morrison Hotel Details 

Catch the Beat will be on display until at least March 31, though apparently they may be extending its run. The Morrison Hotel Gallery is located on Bowery between 1st and 2nd Streets, and is open on Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 noon until 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday from noon until 6:00. For more images and information, please see the Morrison Hotel website.


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