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  • Michael Caro

50 years of Hip Hop!“BEYOND THE ELEMENTS”

I experienced Hip Hop as a new beat at the clubs I went to. Being weaned on soul and funk for dancing jumping out to Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force was not difficult. So began my learning of the sound that America would love. Popular culture’s affair with hip hop which started in the early 70’s but not reaching all dance floors till the 80’s is a shaping force in music, fashion, and visual arts to this day.

The New Americans museum has commissioned Mario “OG” Lopez San Diego-based graphics artist to curate an exhibit about San Diego’s experience with this time in history. Mario being uniquely suited to the task created “Beyond the Elements”. The title is a reference to the elements of Hip Hop. As recalled from Afrika Bambaataa’s playbook about the Elements of hip-hop: DJing, breakdancing, rapping, and visual arts are all well represented. The lens used for this exhibit is borrowed from Mario’s experience as part of a break crew and growing into a visual artist. His vision for this exhibit was to tell the story of those in the San Diego Hip Hop scene during the 80s explosion of this genre in pop culture.

It may be surprising to learn how Hip Hop cuts through race and cultures in its appeal. Learning about other aspects of the music the world has enjoyed from times past and present was fun. The electronics and support systems for break-dance crews and DJing were immersive. The visual arts portion was truly candy for your eyes as they consume the varied colors and textures represented. More than graffiti the pieces shown give the viewer a true aesthetic of of Hip Hop. Mario brought together established and new visual artists to achieve this.

To learn more contact New Americans Museum & Immigration Learning Center, located at 2825 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA, Point Loma, San Diego, September 14th to December 31st, 2023. The opening hours are 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 11 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Beyond the Elements exhibition opens exclusively on September 14, 2023, through appointment bookings. Online reservations are available for Self-Guided Tours only. A maximum of five individuals can attend the same appointment.


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