New York, New Music


June 11, 2021 - September 18, 2022

Grandmaster Flash, and Chris Stein] 1981, Courtesy of the photographer

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During the early 1980s, New York experienced a community-driven musical renaissance. The result was an era of creativity and genre-defying performance that stands as one of the most influential in musical and cultural history. A wide range of music, from punk to pop to hip-hop to salsa to jazz, mixed in a dynamic arts scene that stretched across clubs and bars, theaters, parks, and art spaces. Together, they provided fertile ground for a musical revolution—one that continues to influence pop culture to this day. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of MTV, New York, New Music: 1980–1986 highlights diverse musical artists—from Run DMC to the Talking Heads, from Madonna to John Zorn—as a lens to explore the broader music and cultural scene, including the innovative media outlets, venues, record labels, fashion and visual arts centered in New York City in these years. 

Charlie Ahearn, [Debbie Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash, and Chris Stein], 1981, Courtesy of the photographer


New York, New Music: 1980-1986 is made possible in part by Elizabeth R. Miller and James G. Dinan, Daryl Brown Uber/William E. Weiss Foundation, and an Anonymous Family Foundation.

The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of Kartell. 

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