Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Music Producer Who Became an Advocate for Artists of Color

By M.H. Miller
Kasseem Dean, a.k.a. Swizz Beatz (second from left), at his home in New Jersey with some of the artists whose work is in his collection (from left): Nina Chanel Abney, Kaws, Jordan Casteel and Cy Gavin. Above them is Kehinde Wiley’s “Femme Piquée par un Serpent” (2008).
Hip-hops interest in contemporary art is, by now, something of a cliché. American materialism has been at the center of rap lyrics since at least 1982 when Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five rhymed about stolen TVs and “double-digit inflation.” There was the hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, who had his first hit single in the late ’90s while still a teenager, and who used the money to buy an Ansel Adams photograph. Swizz Beatz, whose real name is Kasseem Dean, lives in a house in Englewood, N.J., that used to belong to Eddie Murphy. [More]
Dean, in a hallway of his home, under a mural by the Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.
Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times” (1997). Dean helped facilitate its record-setting sale to Sean Combs in 2018.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s “An Assistance of Amber” (2017), which Dean bought last year.
Nina Chanel Abney’s “Untitled (No Go X)” (2016), one of the works in Dean’s collection.