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Margot Halpern

Power and Visibility in Hip Hop Visuals and Renaissance Portraits

My thesis is focused on the connections and commonalities that exist between the two seemingly disparate realms of hip hop imagery and Renaissance portraiture, and ultimately how they are visually manifested. This idea was born out of a Tumblr page that juxtaposes images from these two cultures based on undeniable formal similarities. Through my thesis, I set out with the intention of investigating the validity of these connections between modern day hip hop and Renaissance portraiture in particular, as the Renaissance was a unique historical moment that marked the emergence of individualism and identity expressed in image, and hip hop visuals reflect this concept as well. Through research into scholarly sources that deal with hip hop and the Renaissance individually, as well as jointly, in addition to more recent media articles and trends regarding the rising fluidity between the hip hop world and the art world, I have found that there is a deeper connection and more of an understanding that exists between hip hop and art than initially implied by the Tumblr, a point of contention that my thesis aims to shed light on. 


Sector B: Art and Culture of SeeingAdvisors: David Young Kim (ARTH) | Ian Verstegen (VLST)