Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


April 14, 2010

Graffiti artist 'Lady Pink' to lecture at UI April 21

New York graffiti artist Sandra Fabara, widely known by her alias, "Lady Pink," will discuss her work at 7:30 p.m. April 21 in the Iowa Memorial Union's Black Box Theater. The free, public lecture is offered in conjunction with a current on-campus exhibition by the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), "Two Turntables and a Microphone: Hip-Hop Contexts featuring Harry Allen's 'Part of the Permanent Record: Photos from the Previous Century.'"

The lecture was originally scheduled to take place in Van Allen Hall.

"Sandra Fabara, known popularly as Lady Pink, is an art world and hip-hop icon," said Deborah Whaley, UI assistant professor of American studies and African American studies and co-curator of the "Two Turntables," exhibition. "She is an artist who exemplifies aesthetic mastery of several genres and her work has both grown and has proven to have longevity for its artistic, cultural, social and political relevance. It is an honor that she is visiting the University of Iowa during the exhibition run."

A digital display of Fabara's artwork, compiled by Whaley, is on view in the Black Box Theater as part of the UIMA exhibition. "While many people associate hip-hop with rap artists, the origins of the subculture include a cultural politics of resistance, with deejays, break dancers and graffiti artists helping to shape the field alongside the more well-known MCs," said Whaley, who incorporated Fabara's work into the exhibition to provide this larger context of hip-hop.

Fabara pioneered the graffiti movement through the 1980s and 1990s and became one of the first women to gain international recognition from the art establishment for her graffiti work. She was in the first hip-hop film, "Wild Style" (1983), and is "one of the most notable graffiti artists who used the form in a variety of ways to comment on culture and politics," Whaley added.

Fabara defines graffiti as "a backlash to the over-intellectualism, obscurity and abstraction of the general art establishment.

"Some people fear graffiti, because they don't understand it," she adds. "They think it's evil, scary and that crime will soon follow. Graffiti is just a form of expression and a mild form of rebellion. It is necessary and questions the status quo."

During her time as a practicing graffiti artist, Lady Pink spray-painted walls, subways and freight trains. Now no longer doing graffiti work, her contemporary art includes both fine art and mural work and has been included in museum exhibitions and collections at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In addition to her lecture, Lady Pink will also collaborate with Whaley and UI art students to create an 8-foot by 20-foot spray painted mural, in homage to Jackson Pollock's "Mural," in the UIMA's collection, which is currently on view at the Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second St., in Davenport. Upon its completion, the students' mural will be hung in the Black Box Theater for the duration of the "Two Turntables," exhibit, which runs through June 27.

Scheels All Sports, the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Barbara Kirk and the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program are sponsors of "Two Turntables and a Microphone."

The UIMA, University Lecture Committee, International Programs, Office of the Vice President for Research, Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Mission Creek Festival and the Harry Oster Folklore and Folk Fund have provided additional support for the exhibition and programming.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art, visit or call 319-335-1727.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-384-0037,; Writer: Claire Lekwa, UIMA marketing and media assistant