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Beastie Boys fans who want to immerse themselves in the world and ethos of the pioneering rap band will get a chance to do so in Los Angeles next month.
Beginning Dec. 10, street art gallery Beyond the Streets will mount an exhibition of archival items and memorabilia spotlighting the raucous hip-hop group, who became the first rap act to chart a Billboard top album with 1986’s Licensed to Ill, which included the songs “Brass Monkey,” “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” and “Girls.”
The exhibit, which will be free to the public and open through Jan. 23, is set to include a trove of items from the personal collections of Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond. (After the death of third member Adam “MCA” Yauch in 2012 from cancer, the group disbanded.)
Titled Exhibit and presented in partnership with Goldenvoice (the promoter behind most of the band’s California shows), the exhibition will showcase everything from original handwritten lyrics and clothing worn by Beastie Boys in their music videos to musical instruments, such as an 808 drum machine, and vintage merch. Also on view will be a “handwritten note from Madonna from when they were on tour with her,” says Beyond the Streets founder Roger Gastman.
Many things in the show, which will encompass around 4,000 square feet of the gallery, have never before been seen by the public.
“Not only are we honored to be a part of Beyond the Streets, we’re happy that someone besides us appreciates all the weird shit we’ve collected, and made music on for the past forty years that will be on display,” says Horovitz in a statement.
Gastman — also the co-founder of the adjacent Control gallery with Sky Gellatly — tells The Hollywood Reporter he was inspired to pursue creating the exhibit after reading Beastie Boys Book, Diamond and Horovitz’s 2018 history of the band, and seeing photos within of some of the ephemera associated with the group’s history.
Gastman connected with the band’s management, asking, “‘Where’s all this stuff? You know, where’s the lyrics? Where’s this flyer? Where’s this T-shirt?,'” he recalls. “And they’re like, ‘We have bits and pieces of it. It’s in the guys’ houses. It’s in a storage unit. It’s in an old apartment. Some of it’s in this office. It wasn’t centrally located and archived is a nice, clean way to say it.”
Eventually, Gastman visited Diamond and Horovitz — “I just went over to their houses and did a handwritten inventory,” says the gallerist — and over the course of months worked with the band and their management to sort through items and curate the show. (The band was also the subject of the 2020 Spike Jonze/Apple TV+ documentary Beastie Boys Story.)
“Beastie Boys were a part of so many people’s lives. It was hard to be anywhere in the ’80s through the early 2000s without seeing, hearing or having something to do with Beastie Boys. We’re excited to tell their story in an authentic, real way that the fans can relate to,” says Gastman, adding, “I remember when License to Ill came out — watching the videos on TV. I was in grade school. I probably still have the cassette tape at my mom’s house in storage. And then I remember Paul’s Boutique came out and so many didn’t like it at first. And then the next record [Check Your Head] came out. I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is amazing!’ And then I listened to Paul’s Boutique again and I was like, ‘Roger, you’re an idiot. This is one of the best records.’ They’ve just continued to stay so relevant in my life.”
While items in the exhibition will not be for sale, Beyond the Streets (located at 434 N. La Brea Ave.) will debut exclusive new Beastie Boys merchandise in its gift shop, including zines, collectibles and apparel.
Timed-entry tickets for the show — which Gastman curated with Michael Delahaut and Tim Conlon — are now available via AXS.
Adds Gastman, who promises that the show will be the most comprehensive one ever mounted spotlighting the band: “They made the albums, they created the story and we’re just doing our best to present it in an incredible, fun, visual way.”
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