"Return of the Rudeboy" Exhibit

This exhibit made a big impression on me.  I keep thinking about it, even now, a year later.  And I have been pondering why it had such a lasting impression. 
It was called "Return of the Rudeboy."

One reason it made such an impression was the unexpected surprise of it all.  We didn't even know about it until we ran across it.  
We were at the Somerset House in London and had planned to visit one of our favorite small museums, The Cortauld Gallery, which is part of the complex, but decided against going in as it was late in the day.

So we checked out the other venues in the complex --- and there were three other exhibits ---all of which were free, which made it easy to take a look.  We started with the Rudeboy exhibit.

I didn't know what the title meant.  What is a rudeboy?  Perhaps it was about musicians?

We learned that Rudeboys express themselves through their dress.  Every detail is planned.

"...Somerset House is proud to present Return of the Rudeboy, an original exhibition created and curated by prolific photographer and filmmaker for music’s most wanted Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry favourite creative director Harris Elliott, which showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces.  Over the course of the past year the duo has photographed over 60 sharply dressed individuals from across the UK, all of whom embody the essence of what it is to be a Rudeboy (or Rudie) in the 21st century, to document the life, style and attitude of this growing urban group.  The curated collection of images shows the subjects presenting their pure and singular sartorial swagger in locations linked to the Rudeboy lifestyle, whether it be on the streets of Shoreditch or Savile Row."  (Somerset House webpage)

Rudeboys originated in Kingston, Jamaica as a street movement back in the 50's closely linked to the music of that period, then it migrated to London.  This show showcased modern day rudeboys.

This show was very well curated.  It was a wonderful mix of 3D, 2D and sound experiences --- all enhanced by the juxtaposition of the old space, which previously housed the mini- Hermitage museum, and this trendy, fashion-oriented show.
The rudeboy outfits were placed in the center of the main room on pedestals and the images of the rude boys wearing the outfits on the street were hung on the walls.
Every detail is beautifully presented and well-lit.
Rudeboys spend a lot of time creating their looks. Lots of attitude.
A barber shop was re-created in among the photos and clothing, to represent the importance of its place in the movement, both in crafting their images, as well as a social gathering place.  This is a corner of the space where they had a barber chair and floors, etc.

In one part of the space, they played music from the street along with the images.  It was multi-sensory.
Remnants of the Hermitage period were still evident.  Look at the ceilings.
These contrasts---the old with the new, edgy vibe of the exhibit---were very enjoyable to me.

In doing research for this post, I have learned that there has been a book created from the exhibit. It just came out a few weeks ago in the U.K.

Here some links to learn more about the show and its creators, if you have further interest.

Somerset House show:  Rudeboy exhibit, Rudeboy Storify twitter, Rudeboy Facebook
Creators:  Dean Chalkley, and Harris Elliott,
Reviews of the show: Marco, Large Up, The British Blacklist
Book:  Return of the Rudeboy