July 6, 2023
Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum to Donate Hip Hop Digital Interactive Archive to Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library
Archive will travel with The Culture exhibition before going to library serving the world’s largest consortium of HBCUs
BALTIMORE, MD (July 6, 2023)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) today announce that “For the Record,” the digital interactive archive launched in conjunction with The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, will find a permanent home at the Atlanta University Center’s (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library following the completion of the exhibition’s international tour in 2025. The AUC Woodruff Library serves the world’s largest consortium of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center—and is committed to advancing scholarship about the history and global influence of hip hop.
“For the Record” was developed in recognition of hip hop’s deep roots in local community and its global reach to collect, share, and preserve personal stories of hip hop in a living digital interactive archive. The project launched with acclaimed Baltimore-based photographer Devin Allen interviewing local musicians, poets, and writers about their hip hop memories. Since then, more than 200 artists, musicians, fashion designers, actors, and hip hop lovers of all backgrounds and ages have contributed photographs, video, and audio reflections. These submissions document concerts, community gatherings, and memorabilia. Initiated during the exhibition’s presentation in Baltimore from April 5–July 16, 2023, more content will be added as the exhibition travels to subsequent venues. The digital interactive archive provides additional context and perspectives to the more than 90 objects featured in the exhibition that celebrate hip hop’s extraordinary impact on art, fashion, and culture.
Following its presentation in Baltimore, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century will travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri (August 19, 2023–January 1, 2024); the Schirn Kunstalle Frankfurt in Germany (February 22–May 26, 2024); the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio (June 28–September 29, 2024); and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada (fall 2024). Additional archive contributions can be made online at theculturearchive.org. Once it arrives at the Woodruff Library, it will enter the digital archives, preserving the public contributions in perpetuity.
Said Loretta Parham, CEO and Director, AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library, “Expanding access to these exhibited resources that document hip hop culture is essential. The AUC Woodruff Library is honored to be the recipient of the collection and to provide the care and services necessary to assure that these primary resources are available for research, scholarship, teaching, and general interest.”
“It was very important to us that these personal stories of hip hop history and culture found a permanent home and equally important that they be preserved by an HBCU,” said Verónica Betancourt, BMA Interim Chief Education Officer. “Woodruff Library is a perfect partner as it has a publicly accessible online archive and is dedicated to expanding hip hop scholarship. We are delighted to advance this partnership and thank Woodruff Library leadership for sharing in our vision for this digital collection.”
“We are grateful to the Woodruff Library for recognizing that community and storytelling are central to the ethos of hip hop,” said Andréa Purnell, SLAM’s audience development manager and co-curator of The Culture. “Long after the exhibition closes, the ‘For the Record’ archive will ensure that these personal narratives will live on and continue to inform, educate, and inspire future generations.”
The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of hip hop’s founding, The Culture celebrates the extraordinary influence of hip hop on contemporary art, fashion, and culture with more than 90 works of art by some of today’s most important and celebrated artists such as Derrick Adams, Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, and Carrie Mae Weems, as well as several with ties to Baltimore. Their works are presented along with fashion and objects created and made famous by Lil’ Kim, Dapper Dan and Gucci, and Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, along with iconic brands like Cross Colours and TELFAR. The Culture is co-organized by the BMA and SLAM, and co-curated by Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director; Gamynne Guillotte, former BMA Chief Education Officer; Hannah Klemm, SLAM’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; and Andréa Purnell, SLAM’s Audience Development Manager.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund.
Beats, rhymes, culture, and finances for this exhibition are generously provided by hip hop ambassadors “DJ Fly Guy” Flynn & Nupur Parekh Flynn, inventor of BAGCEIT®
The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, Inc.
Established in 1982, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library partners with the nation’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, providing information management, instruction and access to a variety of global information resources acquired and organized in support of teaching and learning, scholarship and cultural preservation of the Atlanta University Center and African American history. The Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and a front-runner in the innovative delivery of digital resources. The AUC Woodruff Library is also home to the Archives Research Center, which is noted for its holdings of materials on the African American experience, including the John Henrik Clarke Africana and African American Collection, the Henry P. Slaughter and Countee Cullen Memorial Collection, Black Women in Radio Historic Collection, and the Southern Education Foundation Collection. The Archives Research Center is the repository of institutional records for selected schools within the Atlanta University Center and it serves as custodian of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries (ACRL). Library CEO Loretta Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. In July 2022, the AUC Woodruff Library became the 127th member of the Association of Research Libraries, becoming the second HBCU in its history to achieve this distinction. For more information, visit www.auctr.edu.
Saint Louis Art Museum
The Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, ancient American art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strength in 20th-century German art. Admission to the St. Louis Art Museum is free to all every day.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.