Must See Art

Sanford Biggers, Ghettobird Tunic (full length) (2006)

Sanford Biggers’ “Freedom: and Other Seldom Travelled Roads” at Mary Goldman Gallery

In 2005, Greg Tate wrote an article for The Village Voice called “Hip-Hop Turns 30,” a biting rant about the hip-hop industry’s capitalistic drive and how far it’s come from its original roots. “It’s equally significant that hip-hop came out of New York at the time it did, because hip-hop is Black America’s Ellis Island,” he wrote. Biggers’ sculptural work seems to cosign hip-hop’s cultural importance and uses its influence as a starting point, but also sees it perpetuating devastating stereotypes. The Bridge Is Over is a sculpture of a melted boom box, the title lifted from the KRS-One song claiming the birthplace of hip-hop to be the South Bronx, rather than Queens. Records of the Supremes and Four Tops are used to create a Hendrix-like psychedelic wall piece, while Ghettobird Tunic is a long coat that looks like garb for a Native American medicine man, or something out of George Clinton’s closet.

932 Chung King Road, Chinatown | (213) 617-8217 | | Through December 9

T. Kelly Mason’s “What Goes Up What Comes Down” at Daniel Hug Gallery

T. Kelly Mason continues to develop his idea of “communicative sculpture,” which has taken many forms, from floral arrangements to performance to urban planning. The main work in this show is Rain (up in smoke and down the drain), a sculpture that claims to exist in the fifth dimension and can travel and be assembled and plugged in anywhere. And it communicates without any text. To address this issue of words and their frequent inability to convey a specific feeling or emotion, Mason shows a series of text-based works, in which the word or phrase is shaped in a particular way to communicate more to the viewer. I am a sucker for these pieces that play with the concept of rain and all its connotations.

510 Bernard St., Chinatown | (323) 221-0016 | | Through December 23

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