Bua's Beat Goes On

The Justin Bua exhibit at 111 Minna closes June 2, and if you haven't paid a visit, for shame. But things aren't so bad, as the recent book by the hip-hop visual artist is an example of exactly how to do an art book right. Urban Art: The Art of Justin Bua doesn't just showcase Bua's original style dubbed “distorted urban realism” (see photo), it captures an era: 1970s and '80s New York, Bua's old stomping grounds and the ground spring of pretty much every romantic notion of gritty urban life. In a blast of art and autobiographical narrative (art-speak does not rear its ugly head, even though Bua now teaches classical figure-drawing at USC), Bua devotes chapters to ballers, punks, graffiti, street musicians, the subway, poets, hip-hop heroes, jazz, vagrants, b-boys, and everything else that made the pre-Starbucks city great. He even includes sketches and studies of his most famous paintings — including that dorm room staple, The DJ. —Michael Leaverton

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