Editorial: Pump Me Up! DC's Punk/Hip Hop Subculture


Today is the Corcoran Gallery of Art's exhibit Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980's last day. Curated by DMV native Roger Gastman, Pump Me Up pays homage to the burgeoning subculture of funk, go go, hardcore punk, hip hop, graffiti art, poster art, and a selection of historical moments and figures that helped put DC on the map - for both positive and negative reasons. Majorly known as the epicenter for all things politico, DC is also home to cultural icons like Chuck Brown, go go music, Cool Disco Dan, and Globe Poster Press - known for its woodblock prints and neon colored designs. Acknowledging the duality of the past three decades, Pump Me Up shows the intersection of a part of DC's cultural evolution and history through the personal lens of its curator. What I enjoyed most was weaving between a crowd composed of DC natives, DC residents, punk aficionados, and art students as we read and looked through the ephemera of videos, photos, posters, music, fashion, and tokens. Comments like "I was a teenager when this happened," or "This person was a classmate of mine," or "I remember that band!" or "Marion Barry for life. I grew up with him," gave an even more personal experience walking through a piece of DC history with people who lived through it.