Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bill Adler's Eye-jammie Gallery

Bill Adler is the one to talk to if you had your artistic awakening around the genesis of rap. Or maybe you happen to be hanging with the rising rap stars of the early 80's, sporting a camera, and all the while snapping shots that showed your uncanny eye and technique. Even if these reason don't apply to you, the real reason to go see Bill and his gallery, word is bond, he’s the nicest person working to promote Hip-Hop culture that we’ve run across. That’s why it’s so disturbing that he might be pushed out of his space which he has occupied for thirteen years. When he signed his lease the neighborhood was a bit rougher and real estate redevelopment wasn’t in the building's foreseeable future. The space (sometimes serving as an office for various ventures, but for last five years of its life serving as a gallery to some of the most talented hip-hop influenced artists) is a nice size room with biggish bright windows, all in all, a really nice Chelsea studio. From his desk Bill looks out over his displayed collection “Part of the Permanent record: Photos From the Previous Century” by Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin. This show has got them all Sheila E., Flavor Flav, Scott La Rock, Whodini, Setsasonic just to name a few. Thirty-six photos in all, all showing a founding member of the culture photographed in moments of triumph, friendship, quiet reflection, or just plain frontin’ for the camera. Harry and Bill, with their show, share with us quite the historical record. You immediately sense in Bill a need to connect these images of the culture’s Petri dish days with the younger hip-hop audience. An audience that is more akin to the slick, marketing firm approved, image stylist polished, MCs of today. Few will take the time to explore the past, the past of what seems to drive almost every move they make. Part of the problem is the complete lack of reverence for the music. Before you can even memorize the verse to the most flavorful joint on the radio, it has been pushed out of rotation by the next big hit. But for those that venture to the gallery, and not just virtually, the true heads will be richly rewarded for their efforts. Bill himself has so much to say about his ride on the surly seas of Hip-Hop; he has two books on the subject. So you know he’s got some great stories, and often is very willing to share them.