18 Wooster Street
Blondie’s “Rapture” was a groundbreaking fusion of new wave, disco, pop, and rap music. It was the first rap song to go to number one on the pop charts, and the first rap video to be played on MTV, in 1981. In addition to an extraordinary performance by Deborah Harry, the video features Jean-Michel Basquiat on the turntables and Lee Quinones and Fab 5 Freddy spray-painting in the background. The song and the video capture the unique fusion of musical directions, graffiti, and dance that characterized the culture of the Lower East Side in 1980, the year that the song was written.
Recapture the Rapture grew out of a conversation with Deborah Harry. She suggested a one-evening event to revisit Blondie’s influential music video, with Lee and Fred re-creating the graffiti paintings they had made for the set.
For the event, we set up a large projection of the video and built a stage for Debbie and her backup dancers to perform the song. Behind the stage, Lee and Fred made wall paintings that referred back to the period in which the song is set. Lee created a remarkable portrait of Debbie, a reprise of one of his most famous works. Grandmaster Flash, who was name-checked in the song, made an appearance, along with other notable personalities from the new wave, hip-hop, and graffiti communities.
The “Rapture” video captured the essence of the new downtown culture and put it in a form that could be broadcast worldwide. The presentation of “Rapture” on MTV became one of the most influential events in the international spread of hip-hop, graffiti, and “downtown” attitude. Recapture the Rapture showed the continued vibrancy of the song and its message. It was just as compelling in 2006 as it was in 1981.
-- Jeffrey Deitch
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
View this website on a larger screen for the full experience.