There are two ways to access this event:
General Admission, first-come first-served. Just show up!
Fast Track, opening the Monday before the event at noon. Click here to learn more and reserve.

Henry Chalfant in person for an introduction

In 1983, just a decade after DJ Kool Herc’s historic “Back-to-School Jam” in a South Bronx apartment building, PBS aired Tony Silver’s groundbreaking document of the burgeoning hip hop movement, a lively and richly observant account of the thriving culture of graffiti writers who were making their mark on the early-’80s New York cityscape.

Co-produced by the photographer Henry Chalfant, Style Wars took a slyly even-handed approach to the then hotly politicized phenomenon of graffiti, which was flourishing in tandem with its counterpart art forms—DJing, rapping, and breakdancing. Silver and Chalfant let the art form’s detractors (including Mayor Ed Koch and MTA higher-ups) voice their objections, but the filmmakers show a greater interest in the young artists themselves, who were regularly risking injury or incarceration in the name of self-expression: the film’s teenage subjects candidly articulate their motivations while showcasing the vibrant, vital energy of their craft—all backed by an infectious soundtrack that features such early hip hop innovators as Grandmaster Flash, the Sugarhill Gang, and the Fearless Four.