He Gets Down With His Bad Self

Lee Quiñones’s Expansions (1994)Image courtesy of the artist and P.S.1, New York


Street scribblers like Shepard Fairey, Banksy, and Swoon have Lee Quiñones to thank in part for their methods and media. Though not a household name like Haring or Basquiat, Quiñones was one of the first to quite literally take it to the streets; he has made downtown nooks and subway cars more interesting to look at since the mid-seventies. Expansions is from Quiñones’s mid-nineties series “Prelude,” up at P.S.1 through September 24. The artist might have shifted from the streets to the studio, but the graffiti aesthetic is still ever-present in his work. These particular paintings are inspired by the seventies-era funk and break-beat sounds that ultimately provided the rhythmic foundation for hip-hop, not to mention this dude’s funkier-than-thou attitude. —Rachel Wolff