Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tony Silver, Style Wars director, R.I.P.

Director of the legendary hip-hop documentary Style Wars, Tony Silver, died last weekend after battling an irreversible brain condition for several years. Tony Silver, died surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles on Friday February 1, 2008. His passing ended a courageous two and half year battle with brain cancer, a disease which he defied longer than anyone thought possible.

Mare 139, one of the artists in the film, has posted about Silver's death on his blog.

Shot in New York City in the early '80s and originally airing on PBS in 1983, his documentary is considered to be the first film about hip-hop culture. While the 70 minutes covers rap and breakdancing, its main focus is on graffiti, which at the time was viewed by some as a groundbreaking art form. Style Wars shows an altered urban landscape and serves as a snapshot of life here in the early '80s, with a "cast" ranging from Mayor Koch to renowned graffiti taggers to the Rock Steady Crew to subway maintenance workers. Check out the original trailer:

The film won the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival upon its release. In 2003 Silver revisited his work and released a companion film called Style Wars: ReVisited. The 34-minute piece checks in on 26 of the of the original film's participants.

Watch the full movie...
Style Wars

A documentary of New York graffiti circa 1983. Presented by Tony Silver & Henry Chalfant. A production of (c) 1983 Public Art Films Inc. (a non-proffit organization), all rights reserved.

For those of you in the New York area, Tony’s daughters Mariko and Nini and his wife, Lisa will be holding a remembrance gathering at 4pm Saturday February 16, 2008 the New York Society for Ethical Culture:

4 PM, Saturday, February 16, 2008
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street
New York, NY 10023

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