“Wild Style” Turns 40 at Deitch, Curated by Carlo McCormick

“They are all friends, brought together again to mark a momentous occasion,” says Carlo McCormick about what really matters to him when curating the 40th Anniversary of “the first and foundational movie of hip-hop,” Wild Style. The exhibition at Deitch Gallery in New York opens this weekend. It pays homage to the vision and determination of director Charlie Ahearn, observing and synthesizing a distinctly New York story that eventually circled the globe.

Wild Style Amphitheater, L.E.S., NYC. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The groundbreaking and iconic independent film emerged from the vibrant subcultures of the early 1980s; a seminal work that now serves as a cultural touchstone, capturing the raw energy and creative spirit of hip-hop and graffiti art during their formative years. “Wild Style” unfolds amidst a gritty urban backdrop, providing an unfiltered view of the burgeoning hip-hop scene, encompassing breakdancing, MCing, DJing, and graffiti. The film combines scripted scenes with authentic performances, preserving the origins and early pioneers of a cultural movement that would later resonate worldwide.

Seen through the eyes of author/curator/poet/storyteller/bard McCormick, Ahearn had captured “the nascence of a renaissance, a happenstance of abandonment and neglect colliding with the exuberantly wayward energies of invention and hope.”

Photo © Martha Cooper

Featured artists include:

Charlie Ahearn, John Ahearn, Janette Beckman, Fred Brathwaite (Fab 5 Freddy), Cathleen Campbell, Henry Chalfant, Joe Conzo, Martha Cooper, Jane Dickson, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Chris Ellis (Daze), Sandra Fabara (Lady Pink), Aaron Goodstone (Sharp), Eric Haze, John Matos (Crash), Leonard McGurr (Futura), Osgemeos, Phase 2, Lee Quinones, Rammellzee, Revolt, Don White (Dondi), Andrew Witten (Zephyr) and Martin Wong.

Wild Style 40, Curated by Carlo McCormick
November 11, 2023–January 13, 2024
18 Wooster Street

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 11, 6-8PM
No RSVP required