Well for anyone who thinks of hip-hop as something that “kids” are into, consider this: The Beastie Boys are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gangster rap pioneer Ice-T has been on Law and Order: SVU for more than a decade—and he’s a grandfather. And I’m pretty sure Flavor Flav has now made more reality shows than he ever made albums with Public Enemy.
Hip hop—and the culture from which it sprang—have come of age.
And so too has that culture’s primary visual art—graffiti. Case in point: Os Gemeos—twin brother street artist from Brazil who are getting their first major solo US exhibition this month at Boston’s ICA (their real names are Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo). And if you think that a museum exhibition denigrates the spirit of street art, fear not. Mere walls will not contain Os Gemeos here in Boston. If you’ve been along the Rose Kennedy Greenway lately, you know what I am talking about. That’s where Os Gemeos have been transforming the side of a Big Dig ventilation building into a huge, brightly colored figure—one of two outdoor murals the brothers have painted here in Boston as part of the exhibition.
I spoke with the Gustavo Pandolfo (one half of Os Gemeos) as they were finishing up the mural down on Dewey Square: