From Apr 27, 2012 - 08:00 PM till May 18, 2012 - 11:00 PM at SMASH Modern Art and Design
Ask Lou. When yet another velveteen interviewer attempted to question Lou Reed about the meaning of cool he answered: ‘I know your type. … If you weren’t a journalist you’d never be invited to anything hip.’ Ouch. And double ouch.
Today’s nu-hipsters have shamelessly kidnapped hip. Let’s set the record straight: the term hip goes way back to the 1700s and gained its modern cachet when used by the original Bebop jazz hipsters in the 1940s … long before Vice mag, Holga cameras and vintage one-speed CCM bikes. Hip comes from the African verb hepi (to see) or hipi (to open one’s eyes.) In other words it means enlightenment. How hip’s that?
So this gets us to the heart o’ hip … it’s not only about style but about awareness. You can’t just pose and be hip. That’s faux-hip or hipsterama. To be truly hip you have to be cool (that’s a given) but also be enlightening. You must give the world something amazingly creative along with your ‘look.’
As a photographer Art Perry has engaged the ‘look’ in his portraits of people who’ve been offbeat or innovative iconoclasts.
The cultural icons in this exhibition run from Rudolf Nurveyev to Devendra Banhart. They’re the real goods carrying authenticity and artistry, the twin handmaidens of hip. Yes Lou’s here. So are Dizzy Gillespie, Patti Smith, Werner Herzog, Joe Strummer, Allen Ginsberg, Max von Sydow, Laurie Anderson, Leon Golub, William Klein, Nick Cave, Philip Glass, Louise Bourgeois, Antony Hegarty, Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes), The Handsome Family and Lady Diana … What? She’s hip? Sure is. C’mon she took on the English monarchy, showed compassion for AIDS and cluster bomb victims and in utter hippness said: ‘Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be. … I don't go by the rule book... I lead from the heart, not the head.’
SMASH’s HIP! portraits of cool has over thirty of Art Perry’s counterculture portraits. His images are as honest as his subjects. Never a studio photographer Perry has taken these portraits over the past forty years with a handheld camera and greyhound-fast film in hotel rooms, backstage, backyards, graveyards, street corners, cafes and studios. Always the intimacy and spontaneity of the moment are revealed in a naked truth. This is the history of hip.