Subculture New York

December 1, 2017

In 2016, the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts acquired its first hip-hop archive, the private collection of iconic filmmaker, writer, and cultural theorist Michael Holman. Holman joins us in conversation with NYPL Assistant Curator Tanisha Jones. From downtown collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat to the creation of the very first hip-hop television show, Holman will recount his personal history of the New York art world, capturing the cultural explosion of art intersecting with life and his influence on hip-hop culture. Jones and Holman will discuss the role of libraries as stewards of world culture exhibiting revolutionary voice, vision, and style to inspire future generations.


Michael Holman is a filmmaker, artist, writer, musician, and a cultural force in New York City for over thirty years. A pioneer in the Downtown New York Art Scene and Uptown Hip Hop Scene, he co-founded the band Gray with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, before creating and producing the first hip-hop television show, Graffiti Rock in 1984. As a writer and producer, Holman produced and directed children’s programming for Nickelodeon, award-winning MTV music videos, and wrote the screenplay to Miramax’s Julian Schnabel feature film, Basquiat. He taught screenwriting and filmmaking at Howard University, The New School For Social Research, and the School of Visual Arts. Holman continues to be active as an artist, writer, and lecturer in the field of contemporary urban culture, film, theater and art performing in museums around the world.

Tanisha Jones has worked in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Collection at the NY Public Library since 2007, and is currently its Assistant Curator. As the former director of the Moving Image Archive, in collaboration with the Dance Division’s curator, she was responsible for managing the collections containing more than 25,000 dance films, videotapes and digital videos that preserve the ephemeral art of dance. Jones received her BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University.

This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: Art History, Art, and Design, History