“I Got a Gallery. I Got a Show.”: Mannion at The Compound!

by Chris Murray on October 5, 2018

Max Lakin wrote a front page story in The New York Times Arts section today about photographer Jonathan Mannion’s amazing exhibition at The Compound gallery in the South Bronx.

Rakim ©Jonathan Mannion


Lakin in The NY Times story writes: “Mr. Mannion has been something of hip-hop’s house photographer since the ’90s, when he shot the cover of Jay-Z’s debut studio album, “Reasonable Doubt,” and his imagery is considered to be some of the most indelible of the genre.”

We are especially pleased as Govinda Gallery held the first solo exhibition of Mannion’s photographs in the Spring of 2007. He was also featured in the legendary Hip Hop Immortals exhibition at Govinda in 2004.

Biggie, New York City, 1995 ©Jonathan Mannion


In 2012, Mannion’s photographs were a crucial component in the museum exhibition, Sound and Vision: Monumental Rock & Roll Photography. That ground breaking exhibition was curated by Govinda Gallery’s Chris Murray and organized by Govinda in conjunction with the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia. The exhibition toured for three years at five museums in the South. Mannion’s photos were a compelling highlight.

Jay-Z, New York City, 1996 ©Jonathan Mannion


The Compound director and cofounder, Free Richardson, is quoted in The NY Times as saying “I feel like what I’m doing is different than the standard gallery format. No galleries, to me, have accepted hip hop to be a part of their DNA.” That may be true…except for Govinda Gallery.

Mark Seliger’s exhibition, Physiognomy, at Govinda in 1999 featured photos of Ice T, Salt-N-Pepa, Beastie Boys, RZA and Dr. Dre, among others.

Salt-N-Pepa ©Mark Seliger


In 2000, Govinda launched Glen E. Friedman’s exhibition and book, Fuck You Heroes, featuring Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Ice Cube, and many others.

Chuck D, Public Enemy ©Glen E. Friedman


In the fall of 2001, Danny Clinch‘s iconic image of Tupac Shakur was shown in his first one-person exhibition, along with KRS-One, Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., Q-Tip, Chuck D, and more.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Wu Tang Clan, New York City, 1994 ©Danny Clinch


In 2002, Govinda Gallery organized the first exhibition in Cuba featuring musical artists at Cuba’s National Photo Gallery, Fototeca de Cuba. That extraordinary exhibition, La Revolución del Rock & Roll, featured Glen Friedman and Danny Clinch’s photos of hip-hop musicians.

Fototeca de Cuba ©Nathalie Grenzhaeuser


All of these great images and exhibits, along with Hip Hop Immortals, Jonathan Mannion’s solo exhibition at Govinda Gallery, and the Sound and Vision museum tour definitely established Govinda Gallery’s hip hop DNA. Much thanks in presenting these exhibits goes to Govinda Gallery assistant to the director and in-house hip-hop expert David Murray.

The Compound’s Free Richardson says, “We are in the borough that created hip-hop, which is the biggest art form in the world, so it’s always an extending arm. It’s always present.”

I was born and raised in The Bronx, and can’t wait to visit The Compound.

The Compound, South Bronx ©Devin Yalkin, The New York Times


Congratulations to Jonathan Mannion, Free Richardson, and his gallery partner, Yasiin Bey.

Category: Blog, The Back Room   

2 responses to ““I Got a Gallery. I Got a Show.”: Mannion at The Compound!”

  1. Christine Nassikas says:

    Chris you were a pioneer for sure. What
    great history.

  2. Wheeock says:

    Always ahead of the curve……….

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