November 15 to December 20, 2023

The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, in partnership with the Bronx Council on the Arts, invites you to explore the roots and evolution of Hip Hop, the global phenomenon that originated in the South Bronx in the 1970s. Through a stunning collection of photos and memorabilia, curated by Johan Kugelberg and Joe Conzo, Jr., witness how African American and Latino youths in the South Bronx transformed poetry, music, and fashion into a powerful expression of life and struggle. From vinyl records, flyers, and artwork, to graffiti, break dancing, and MCing, this exhibition showcases the diverse and innovative elements of Hip Hop that shaped the Bronx and the entire world.

Curators Johan Kugelberg and Joe Conzo, Jr. have been staging versions of this exhibit internationally since 2005: In London, Tokyo, Sweden and France. In 2007, Johan, with the help of Joe, founded the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection, the largest archive in the world devoted to tracing the history of hip hop. In 2008, they worked with Cornell on staging the world’s first large-scale “Hip Hop History Symposium.” Their 2007 book Born in the Bronx – A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop – reissued this year in an expanded edition with an introduction from LL Cool J – won the New York Public Library Best Books for Teens Award. It will be available at the gallery in a special signed edition.

Born in the Bronx” opens on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. and will feature Grand Wizzard Theodore, the legendary Bronx-born Hip Hop DJ, widely credited as the inventor of the “scratching” technique. He also gained acclaim and credibility for his mastery of “needle drops” and other DJ techniques which he invented or perfected. Join Us and “Say turn it up” – one of Grand Wizzard Theodore’s greatest phrases!

The Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos is conveniently located at Hostos Community College/CUNY, 450 Grand Concourse (off 149th Street) in the Bronx. For more information and inquiries, please contact Hostos Center at (718) 518-4455 | or the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) at (718) 518-6728 |


Johan Kugelberg is a New York-based author, editor and archivist with more than 30 years of experience in the U.S. entertainment and art industries. He is a professor at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. He was the curator of the punk/rock sale at Christie’s in 2008, the first major auction sale devoted to punk. In addition, he has served as a curator and consultant in pop culture fields for auction houses including Christie’s and Phillips de Pury. As an archivist, he has created comprehensive collections in the fields of punk, hip hop, and counter culture, focusing on printed works, ephemera, photography, and book arts. Currently, he is the owner and curator of Boo-Hooray, an archival processing company and project space in Manhattan. To date, Boo-Hooray has placed more than 120 archives with museums and university libraries around the world. Over his career Johan has curated more than 100 exhibits and written 42 published books, including Vintage Rock T-shirts, True Norwegian Black Metal, Born in the Bronx, The Velvet Underground: New York Art, Beauty is in the Street and Punk: An Aesthetic. 

Joe Conzo Jr. is a Bronx-based documentary photographer and former executive of the New York Emergency Response Workers Union. The New York Times, named him “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures.” Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Conzo acquired a passion for photography as a young boy attending the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University. He continued his formal artistic education at NYC’s School of Visual Arts. He also received certification as a Combat Medic. Later, he would join the New York Fire Department as an Emergency Medical Technician. It was his role as an EMT that delivered him to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. All the while, he continued his photography and published a seminal book on hip hop culture that has received worldwide acclaim —“Born In The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop” (2007). In 2008, this entire collection of images became part of a permanent archive housed at Cornell University. The This collection is regarded by genre experts and academia as an important lens into the roots of Hip-Hop culture, the Urban NYC landscape of the 70’s and 80’s, and an integral source for any serious discourse on the movement.


Named “the powerful locus for Latino art” by the New York Times, the Hostos Center serves the cultural needs of South Bronx residents and neighboring communities. As a leader in Latinx and African-based programming, the Center creates performing and visual arts forums in which the diverse cultural heritages of its audiences are celebrated and nurtured. The Hostos Center consists of two state-of-the art theaters of 900 and 367 seats each, an experimental Black Box theater and a museum-grade art gallery.

Hostos Center events are sponsored by the Hostos Community College Foundation with funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Office of NYC Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr. 

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