If you’ve ever found the quiet experience of walking through New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art lackluster, this may interest you: you can now take a virtual tour of the museum with a number of hip-hop artists. A new endeavor called the Hip-Hop Project is being implemented at the Met that allows visitors to go through the museum with narration from hip-hop artists.
The names of artists, including Queen Latifah, Kendrick Lamar, and Nas, function as keywords on the site. Lyrics from songs that play help you find art with the same keywords, linking the music to pieces of art, bringing new light and meaning to each.
This innovative project comes from Regina Flores Mir, who hoped to encourage visitors to explore both art and the rap genre. If a visitor chooses Missy Elliot as their tour guide, “The Rain” plays, and different pieces of art come up for the song’s keywords: “super,” “fly,” “stand.” It’s a very cool and immersive project that could bring a younger audience to the museum.
Flores Mir said that a large component of her project was conducting an ethnographic research study to decide which rappers and which songs to include. She asked participants about their favorite rappers and who they believe have been the most influential rappers of all time, data she used to determine a final list of 13 artists.
She says she came up with the idea while interning at the Met, where she was inspired by a group of students she knew from a housing project in Jamaica, Queens, who had never been to the museum, despite living in close proximity to it. By linking hip-hop with classical art, the project makes one more accessible to the other.
She hopes that the project will expand to offer more than just one song by each artist to viewers. Each artist provides a different and unique viewing experience and offers new meaning to each piece.