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Mikael Väisänen: Mos Def, 1999,CCourtesy of Wikimedia Commons

News / Art

Mos Def launches gallery bridging the gap between art and hip-hop

The barrier between urban and fine art has rarely been broken. However, next month musician Mos Def and advertising executive Free Richardson are coming together to open The Compound, a gallery space dedicated to bridging the gap between hip-hop and art.

Located in the newly termed ‘Piano District’ of the South Bronx, where hip-hop’s foundations were laid in the 1970s, The Compound will host an eclectic programme of visual arts, performance, design and film. Free Richardson will run the day-to-day operations, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) will bring in the creational and special projects.

The gallery aims to provide a platform for artists that struggle to get recognition from the art establishment. “For me everything is art”, Free Richardson told Artnet News. “What often happens is that certain artists don’t get a fair chance, and many 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 gallery will open in mid-August with an exhibition of work by Jonathan Mannion, a noted photographer and film director on the music scene. He has shot over 300 album covers, working with hip-hop and R&B performers including Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Outkast, Nas and Kendrick Lamar.