wild style graffiti logo.

UB Center for the Arts and UB Art Galleries

November 29, 2023
6:30 p.m.

UB Center for the Arts
Room 112

Free and open to the public


and conversation with Director Charlie Ahearn and Curator Carlo McCormick


Please join us on for a 40th-anniversary celebration screening of the iconic 1983 film Wild Style with special guests Director Charlie Ahearn and Curator Carlo McCormick!

This groundbreaking film celebrated as a foundational depiction of early Hip-Hop culture —and one of the first to engage cinematically with the lives and perspectives of the young people whose creativity fueled its development—Wild Style was conceived as a collaboration between young No Wave filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and the renowned street artist Fab 5 Freddy. The film takes you deep into the pulsating streets of the South Bronx, where graffiti art, breakdancing, and rap music collide to create a unique and powerful movement. Follow the story of "Zoro" (played by legendary artist Lee Quiñones), a graffiti artist torn between his passion for art and the challenges of urban life. Featuring appearances from iconic figures like Fab 5 Freddy, Busy Bee, Lady Pink, the Rock Steady Crew, Cold Crush Brothers, Queen Lisa Lee of Zulu Nation, and Grandmaster Flash, the film documents the early rise of hip-hop, providing a unique snapshot of the pioneers who fueled its development.

In addition to the screening, we're thrilled to host a conversation with Director Charlie Ahearn and Curator Carlo McCormick! This is a chance to connect with creative minds and explore the cultural landscape that gave birth to Wild Style

Whether you're a devoted fan or a curious newcomer, this evening will deepen your appreciation for the film and its historical significance. 


5:30 p.m. - Pre-screening reception including a performance by B.flo-Girls & Friends in the CFA Atrium. Refreshments will be provided.

6:30 p.m. - WILD STYLE, 40th Anniversary Screening in the CFA Screening Room (Room 112).

Participant Bios

Artist and filmmaker Charlie Ahearn is best known for documenting street culture and the rise of hip-hop in 1970s New York City. Through photography, film, and slideshows, Ahearn captures the excitement and raw energy that infused the movement. After moving to New York City to attend the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Studio Program, Ahearn became part of the artists’ group Colab (Collaborative Projects), a multidisciplinary artist collective working to expand the traditional art world. It was at CoLab’s art show – The Times Square Show – featuring works by Basquiat, Scharf, and Haring, that Ahearn was approached by graffiti artist Fab 5 Freddy to make a film about hip-hop and graffiti culture. Ahearn wrote, directed, and produced the iconic feature-length film Wild Style (1983), which is recognized as the first and most beloved movie in the hip-hop industry. Wild Style featured prominent hip-hop music, break dance, and graffiti figures including Futura and Rammellzee.

Carlo McCormick is an American culture critic and curator living in New York City. He is the author of numerous books, monographs, and catalogs on contemporary art and artists.

B.flo-Girls is a Buffalo-based DJ & BGirl collective dedicated to sharing the music & dance elements of Hip Hop Culture, and uplifting women in Hip Hop.

B.flo-Girls Instagram