Tuesday, June 4, 2024
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AMNH hosts a celebration of hip-hop jewellery

An exhibition celebrating the cultural significance and evolution of hip-hop jewelry is set to make its debut at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City.

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Titled “Ice Cold: An Exhibition of Hip-Hop Jewelry,” the showcase is scheduled to open on May 9th in the museum’s Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop celebrated last year, the exhibition will offer a comprehensive exploration of hip-hop’s journey through the lens of its distinctive jewelry culture.

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The exhibition will feature an array of jewelry pieces spanning from the 1980s to the present day, charting the evolution of the genre’s adornments. It will commence with the oversized gold chains emblematic of rap’s early pioneers, progressing through the era of diamond and platinum record label pendants in the 1990s, and culminating in the vibrant, avant-garde jewels of the 2000s that blend high fashion, pop culture, and rap history references.

According to the museum, the exhibition aims to underscore hip-hop jewelry as enduring symbols of individuality, empowerment, and resilience within the hip-hop community and global culture. Among the highlighted pieces are iconic items such as Slick Rick’s gem-encrusted crown, the Notorious B.I.G.’s legendary gold “Jesus piece,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie” pendant, alongside contributions from other influential figures in the hip-hop world.

Sean M. Decatur, president of AMNH, expressed enthusiasm for showcasing these remarkable pieces within the context of the museum’s Mignone Halls dedicated to gems and minerals, highlighting the profound impact of hip-hop jewelry on modern culture.

The exhibition draws heavily from the book “Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History,” published by Taschen in 2022, authored by journalist Vikki Tobak. Tobak, who also serves as the guest curator of the exhibition, emphasized the integral role of jewelry in hip-hop culture and its reflection of the genre’s evolution and global influence.

Collaborating with the museum’s curatorial team and advisory board, which includes artists, industry professionals, jewelers, and academics, the exhibition promises to provide a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors.

“Ice Cold: An Exhibition of Hip-Hop Jewelry” will be situated in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery within the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. Admission to the exhibition will be included with general admission to the museum.

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