NEW YORK — Christie’s sells some of the most expensive artworks in the world, but you don’t have to be a billionaire, let alone a millionaire, to afford what’s currently on display in the company’s Rockefeller Center galleries.
Vinyl, posters, vintage Polaroids and used electronics are all grouped together under one banner: the birth of hip-hop.
The items were all consigned by a brother and sister who can claim to have been involved in the creation of the genre.
The memorabilia is from a Jamaican-born rap pioneer named DJ Kool Herc, who laid the groundwork for hip-hop in the South Bronx using beats as building blocks.
The story started there half a century ago when the beats were as mean as the streets and he got the idea to expand on those beats and a new genre was born.
It all started when his sister, Cindy Campbell, asked him to throw her a back-to-school party in the recreation room of their apartment building.
“That was the beginning of something that has grown and evolved to where it is today,” Campbell said.
DJ Kool Herc devised a way to put two identical records on the section that consisted of pure rhythm and then play those sections back to back.
“He had the two turntables and the two vinyls on it, and he would turn it on and off to lengthen it,” Campbell said.
From these humble beginnings a multi-billion dollar industry was born.
“All of that just grew into a culture,” Campbell said.
Christie’s is celebrating this culture by selling more than 200 items online through August 18th.
A free exhibition of all lots is open until August 12th.
Photography director Darius Himes remarked, “The sale is about recognizing the birth of hip-hop, Herc’s contributions not only to New York City but to American culture and global culture.”
His colleague Peter Klarnet added: “You’re looking at some of the earliest pieces in history. You see them in embryonic form.”
It’s the stuff her dreams were made of: stuff so simple it might have been lost or thrown away if Cindy hadn’t decided to keep it to show future generations “what we did back then.” have to make something out of nothing”.
Now the passage of time has made the mundane truly magical.
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