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Miami's Museum of Graffiti tags Austin for its first pop-up

A short, square-like building with painted, rainbow walls sits in front of two city skyscrapers. A sign above the building readers "Museum of Graffiti."
Courtesy Museum of Graffiti
Miami's Museum of Graffiti has taken over space on East Sixth Street.

Miami's Museum of Graffiti has opened an outpost in Austin just in time for South by Southwest — but you only have until the end of the month to visit.

The museum is one of the first of its kind, dedicated solely to preserving and showcasing graffiti art. It has taken over the space at 809 E. Sixth St. for an exhibit titled “The Art of Hip Hop.”

“It's really important for us to tell our story in a city that's dedicated to music and culture during South by Southwest,” Allison Freidin, the museum's co-founder, said.

It's the first time the museum has come to another city.

“The Art of Hip Hop” celebrates the 50-year anniversary of hip-hop by highlighting the work of graffiti artists, album cover artists, photographers and logo designers who have helped visualize the genre.

“Graffiti is one of the five pillars of hip-hop,” Freidin said. “It's our duty and obligation to tell the story and how graffiti intertwines.”

The pop-up offers daily graffiti classes and elements from the other four pillars, Freidin said, including MCing, breakdancing, knowledge and DJing.

“Our exhibits are very immersive and kind of make you feel surrounded,” she said. “You're going to see beautiful photographs of recording artists that everybody knows and loves.”

Hip-hop can be traced back to a party in the Bronx in 1973, according to KEXP’s 50 Years of Hip-Hop podcast.
To celebrate, the museum is hosting three days of panel discussions, DJ sets and limited edition merchandise sales at its Mi Campo Artists Lounge from March 10 to 12.

The lounge will feature music by local DJs Bubs Rubino and DJ Notion, live graffiti demonstrations and complimentary cocktails from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. Friday’s event also includes a discussion with artist and designer Tristan Eaton, a Casetify design workshop, a signing with artist Dalek and a talk with rapper Raekwon and photographer Danny Hastings.

On Saturday, the museum is hosting a discussion with Def Jam Records Creative Director Cey Adams, a signing with artist Queen Andrea, a tribute to Dave Trugoy from De La Soul by DJ Maseo and a mural unveiling. Sunday will include a discussion about Austin’s hip-hop scene, a breakdancing performance and demonstration from B-Boy City and a book signing with Talib Kweli.

Freidin said the art form’s time in the spotlight has been long overdue because of negative narratives from the government and mainstream media. She said she hopes visitors leave with a new understanding and appreciation of graffiti culture.

“Graffiti has contributed to so much public art in so many beautiful ways in public spaces around the world,” she said. “It's really important to document its history and preserve it and exhibit it just like any other art form.”

The exhibit is open until March 28.

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