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New York on Film: Style Wars 40th Anniversary

New York on Film: Style Wars 40th Anniversary

Photo by Martha Cooper

Graffiti Art Bazaar, Film Screening, and an All-Star Panel

Thursday, December 7, 2023, 6:30pm
Price: General Admission $20 | Members $15
Purchase Tickets
Museum of the City of New York
Fifth Avenue and 104th Street in Manhattan


Moderated by New York Series programmer Jessice Green,
features artists Lady Pink and Skeme, B-Boy Ken Swift,
Style Wars producer Henry Chalfant, and filmmaker and editor Sam Pollard.


City Lore is pleased to partner with The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) and Public Art Films in presenting a graffiti art bazaar, film screening, and an all-star panel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Style Wars!

The program kicks off with a graffiti bazaar in the Museum’s Rotunda, followed by the film screening and panel discussion in Ronay Menschel Hall. The panel, moderated by New York Series programmer Jessice Green,  features artists Lady Pink and Skeme, B-Boy Ken Swift, Style Wars producer Henry Chalfant, and filmmaker and editor Sam Pollard.

Event Timeline

4:00 – 6:15pm: Graffiti bazaar in the Museum’s Rotunda (1st Floor)

6:15 – 6:30pm: Film introduction (Ronay Menschel Hall, Ground Floor)

6:30 – 7:40pm: Film screening; drinks & popcorn available for purchase

7:40 – 8:45pm: Panel with Lady Pink, Skeme, Ken Swift, Henry Chalfant, Sam Pollard, and Jessica Green.

This screening is part of MCNY’s year-long series, New York on Film: Decade by Decade, programmed by Jessica Green. The series accompanies the Museum’s centennial exhibition, This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture.

About Style Wars

In the winter of 1984, PBS premiered the documentary Style Wars, which chronicled New York City’s youth culture through the world of graffiti and breakdancing. The brainchild of director and producer Tony Silver and producer Henry Chalfant, long time City Lore Board member, the film tackles the conflict between graffiti artists and the cynical officials as the New York they know vanishes around them. This film is an invaluable record of both the city’s history and the early days of hip-hop as we celebrate the genre’s 50th anniversary in 2023. Style Wars is required viewing for students of New York City history and fans of graffiti and b-boy and b-girl culture alike.


Moving Murals: Henry Chalfant & Martha Cooper’s All-City Graffiti Archive was City Lore Gallery’s inaugural exhibition that ran from April 6th, 2014 through December 18th, 2014.

About City Lore & hip-hop

For many years, City Lore has worked closely with hip hop documentarians, most especially with City Lore Board Member Henry Chalfant, Style Wars producer. In addition, Chalfant directed the award-winning City Lore film, From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale. His subway art has been featured in the City Lore Gallery. Another close City Lore collaborator is Martha Cooper who along with her hip-hop work has been photographing folk traditions for City Lore for 40 years. City Lore’s enduring focus on poetry has meant working with a variety of hip-hop poets in a variety of different settings, as teaching artists, and they have presented Toni Blackman, Baba Israel and Rokafella in readings. In 1994, City Lore honored DJ Kool Herc with a People’s Hall of Fame Award.

City Lore folklorist Elena Martinez, in partnership with Bronx Music Heritage Center has coordinated several exhibitions featuring the work of Joe Conzo, Jr., an early photographer on the hip-hop scene who is often credited with taking hip-hop’s “baby pictures. A special feature at the 2001 Smithsonian Folklife Festival was Elena Martinez’s presentation and interview with the Bronx aerosol arts collective, TATS Cru.

Asked about hip-hop as Folklore, folklorist Elena Martinez had this to say: “when you think of mambo or hip hop, no one normally thinks of folklore because those are popular music forms. People can buy records and CDs, and they are just more popular forms of music. But we placed it into this narrative, into this context, looking at it through a folklore lens. Folklore is about folk art, about people sharing traditions within a community, whatever that community is — it could be an ethnic community, a sub-cultural youth community, but some sort of community that shares some traditions, some values, and they somehow transmit those into an art form, whether storytelling, quilt-making, or dance.”


Dec 07 2023


6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

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