I had the pleasure of attending the Pump Me Up Exhibition
at the Corcoran Gallery of Art
this past weekend. The exhibition was available from February 23rd through April 7th. This exhibition was the first of its type to explore the subculture of DC through Go Go music , Punk Rock, graffiti, art, and pictures from the 1980’s. I primarily was interested in the Go Go & graffiti portion and it was an enriching experience. There was a wealth of information to obtain so one could easily spend a few hours at this exhibition and still not discover everything!
The last Saturday that the Pump Me Up Exhibition was on display, the Corcoran Gallery of Art was free of an entry charge from 10 am- 5pm. Regular admission is $10 but even if I would have had to pay, the experience would have been well worth the money! The artwork and posters were lined up in chronological order beginning in 1968 through the 1990’s and spanned across the walls of the Gallery in the main entrance.
The exhibition featured information and posters from Go Go Pioneers like The Young Senators, Black Heat, & Los Latinos (Chuck Brown’s first Band). Groups like these and others introduced their ‘new unique sound’ to DC and it took over the city. By the late 1970’s, Black Heat’s album is the first Go Go record featured on the Billboard charts & Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers ‘Bustin Loose’ tops the R&B charts.
The exhibit explores the beginnings of Go Go from the first independent record deal to the Go Go explosion in the mid 1980’s.
Now, I’m by no means a Go Go expert but this part of the exhibition was particularly fascinating! I mean who hasn’t heard of Chuck Brown or the Junk Yard Band?! I definitely left the exhibit with more knowledge about the subculture which of course (DUH V!) was the point of the exhibition lol.
The exhibition and artwork also featured prominent issues during the Reagan era like drug abuse (primarily PCP & Crack Cocaine), AIDS & it went on to the address DC being the ‘Murder Capital’ in the 1990’s stating ‘Metro Police force kills more people per capita than that of any other major US city’.
Of course, the exhibition also addressed the accomplishments and scandal surrounding former Mayor Marion Barry. He accomplished many great things during his terms and did prominent work in the community but was also caught smoking crack cocaine in a FBI sting.
The exhibit also covered Go Go Graffiti. Graffiti writers and artists like Cool Disco Dan, Gangster George, & DC Monie (just to name a few) who tagged the city with their work and majorly impacted the movement.
I particularly enjoyed reading about the origins of the 930 club, (whose name derived from its original address 930 F Street) which is still around today.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the gallery and I thought the exhibition was great! There were so many interesting things to explore and discover that there is NO WAY I could mention them all here.
DC has great resources and museums that are usually free of charge or cost a small admission fee, we just have to go out and find them! I for one plan on taking advantage of and exploring these venues. This is one cool spot that I will be visiting again!
Did you have a chance to visit the ‘Pump Me Up Exhibition’? If so, what were your thoughts? If not, would this be a spot you might have visited?