Chi Modu, Tupac Shakur, Uncategorized
Chi Modu, Tupac Shakur, Uncategorized is a compilation of candid photos of Tupac Shakur taken by legendary documentary photographer Chi Modu. The photos span the period from Modu’s first meeting with Tupac in 1994 in Atlanta up until 6 months before Tupac’s death in September 1996, when he was shot in a drive-by in Las Vegas after a leaving a Mike Tyson boxing match.
Unlike many photography books with slick, posed images from recording sessions and performances, this book shows the human, vulnerable side of this superstar. Because he saw Modu as a friend and fellow black man, Tupac let his guard down, allowing Modu to capture the real human behind the celebrity.
We see Tupac relaxing at home with friends in his backyard, adjusting his bandana between shots, enjoying a beer, and laughing joyously and unselfconsciously. There’s a side of Tupac that up until now, only his closest friends knew. Modu’s photos let everyone who admired and loved this man see him in a whole new light. According to Modu, “Tupac had a profound impact on so many people, and his appeal transcends race, class, age, and geography. It’s time to celebrate his life and there’s no better way than to share these photos with the world.”
Modu’s Uncategorized brand was born in NYC in 2013 as an outdoor installation of massive images of Tupac, Biggie, and Snoop that got the city talking. According to Modu, “The art world tends to be very exclusive and full of obstacles for both the artists and the public. My goal was to make art more inclusive by pulling an end run on the galleries, breaking down the barriers, and bringing the art directly to the people. Like graffiti, but legal.” In 2014, Uncategorized morphed into a provocative, record-breaking solo exhibit at Pori Art Museum in Finland with its accompanying book, Chi Modu | Uncategorized Porin Art Museum Publications. And now, Uncategorized Press is publishing this unique tribute to Tupac Shakur.
As to why the brand is called Uncategorized, Modu says, “People always want to put art and artists into neat little boxes. My work does not fit into any one stereotype and neither do I. I wanted to create something that is the opposite of putting labels on everything and make a statement against stereotyping. I don’t see this as just an exhibit or book. I see it as a movement that can’t be stopped. Power to the people!”