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Must See: Janette Beckman’s Rebels at Foam

An honoured member of the Worldwide Underground.

The Islington Twins, London, 1981 © Janette Beckman.

An honoured member of the Worldwide Underground, Janette Beckman’s work emerges from within inner subcultural circles. Luckily for us, Foam is putting on the first large scale retrospective on the visionary’s work: Rebels: An Ode to Subversives, Revolutionaries and Provocateurs. With a career spanning over four decades, Beckman was at the forefront of documenting the early stages of punk, photographing legendary groups such as The Clash and the Sex Pistols along with the communities that accompanied them. Following her place in London’s rock scene, she made the move to NYC, where history seemingly wrote itself. She continued to find herself in music spaces, immortalising hip hop through the rise of Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, and LL Cool J alike.

Sade, New York City, 1983 © Janette Beckman.

Andre 3000, New York City, 2003 © Janette Beckman.

While an icon in the music scene, Beckman found her calling outside of the industry itself. Of course, ever-entangled, Beckman’s work pays homage to contemporary rebels and revolutionaries, documenting recent political movements such as Black Lives Matter and peace demonstrations for Gaza.

Rebel explores and celebrates all of this, delving not only into iconic cultural scenes she helped shape, but also her ongoing commitment to social justice, activism, and youth culture. Running from May 10 until September 8, this exhibition is not only a must-see, it’s an exhibition to return to again and again.

LL Cool J, Cut Creator, and Brian Latture, New York City, 1987 © Janette Beckman.

Words by Agata Villa
Images courtesy of Foam