Since the 1970s, twin brothers Charlie and John Ahearn have explored urban life and culture in New York. John Ahearn’s sculpture, Double Dutch (1981/2010), is on view in PAMM’s collection exhibition, Global Positioning Systems, through June 2016. Like his brother, Charlie Ahearn creates films that explore life in New York’s outer boroughs and focus on legendary hip hop and graffiti artists and the many characters that defined this scene in the 1980s through to the present. To celebrate the careers of these two artists, the museum will present two films directed by Charlie Ahearn: Wild Style (1983, 82 minutes) and Jamel Shabazz (2013, 83 minutes).
Wild Style (1983, 82 minutes) is a now classic movie that captures the energy and excitement of the early graffiti/hip-hop scene in New York. Ahearn’s first feature length film, the story follows graffiti artist Lee Quinones as he plays the part of Zoro, the city’s hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. Full of great subway shots, breakdancing, freestyle MCing and rare footage of one of the godfathers of hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash.
Jamel Shabazz (2013, 83 minutes) is a documentary film about the Brooklyn-born photographer. Shabazz has captured New York street life, most famously in his legendary images of the early hip-hop scene, collected in his iconic book Back in the Days. Shabazz has traveled the world taking pictures, cementing his reputation as one of our time’s great documentary photographers.