‘We Saved Every Other’: Alvaro Barrington’s 90s Hip-hop Exhibition

His recurring use of cement provides a sense of weight and permanence to tales that have been subjected to erasure. Brown’s portraits of Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Li’l Kim, rendered in delicate pastel on brown kraft paper, had reminded him both of a specifically New York type of drawing, and the way punk rock had influenced the work of Elizabeth Peyton. He compares her work to a trumpet solo that Olu Dara, Nas’s father, performed on a monitor of the Illmatic album: « It’s reaching down to the roots, however it’s also reaching to the heavens. « In music, you perceive the function of a function; it’s form of the antithesis of painting, where we consider the painter as an individual genius, » Barrington says. « Through making, I’m placing out ideas of what I think I know, » he says. In both nostalgic and mournful turns, it is a show about history, both public and non-public, and who counts as a reliable narrator.

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