When I first walked into The Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibition Looking at Music 3.0, the third installment of its kind exploring the relationship between art and music, I wasn’t sure if I was in a museum – or a club. It’s kind of dark, there’s loud music playing, there’s too many stylish people standing around talking about Jay-Z and lots more lounging on a large, velvety couch the size of a bed, waiting to be seen (or scene?). If it weren’t for the obviously misplaced older Upper East Side couple wearing sensible shoes and professor-approved tweed (this is the HIP HOP room. Are you lost?), I would have expected a VIP section with table service. But I’m in a museum and this is not a party, no matter how hard it’s trying to be.
Playing on a huge screen that’s standing floor-to-ceiling in the middle of the cramped room is A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” music video from 1991. Oh hey, I forgot Busta Rhymes used to be out-of-this-world fun, before he started hitting people for disrespecting his car. That’s a nice piece of nostalgia. Other walks down memory lane to high school (read: junior high) include original record jackets from the era, from the likes of Afrika Bambaataa and Run DMC, photos of the Beastie Boys and Salt n Pepa and vinyl-inspired artwork. It’s all pretty fun, but there’s nothing there that I can’t find in my dj friend’s apartment, minus the crowd. I should call him.
But honestly, seeing this on a super-big screen was mesmerizing: