BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new exhibition from a member of New York's hip-hop royal family will make its home in Bed-Stuy this weekend.
Artist and philanthropist Danny Simmons, brother of hip-hop mogul Rusell Simmons and legendary Run-D.M.C. rapper Joseph "Reverend Run" Simmons, will debut "Noisy in the Next Room," an exhibition of work from over the last two years of his career, kicking off the 2013-2014 season at Restoration Plaza's Skylight Gallery on Sunday.
Simmons said the exhibition, the title of which comes from a poem the artist wrote, is about trying to "perceive things beyond the physical plain," and is inspired by traditional African art.
"The European tradition of painting is 'art for art's sake,'" Simmons said. "Most African sculpture and things that were made are spiritual conduits. And I believe painting and all the stuff I've been doing is also a spiritual conduit."
The exhibition is also a chance to see how the abstract expressionist's work evolved over time, from painting, to adding textile collages and, most recently, digital paintings, Simmons said.
Simmons and his family famously grew up in Hollis, a neighborhood which became the subject of songs like Run-DMC's "Hollis Crew." But the artist himself moved to Brooklyn about 20 years ago, living in Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, and finally, settling in Crown Heights.
He runs one Brooklyn gallery, Corridor Gallery at 334 Grand Ave. in Clinton Hill, along with his Rush Arts gallery in Chelsea, and he is on the board of the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brooklyn Bridge Park, among others.
The borough helped foster his creativity, and his show is a reflection of that, Simmons said.
"Queens is a great place to grow up in, but it doesn't have the same type of artistic and cultural opportunities or resonance," Simmons said. "I really wanted to do a show not so much for the art world, but for the community."
Along with his paintings, Simmons will also read from his soon-to-be-released book of poetry, "The Brown Beatnik Tomes," at Sunday's opening reception.
"I live, breathe and work art, and it's a fun life to have," Simmons said.
"Not the most financially rewarding," he added, with a laugh, "but I've got rich brothers."
"Noisy in the Next Room" runs from Nov. 3 to Jan. 3, with an opening night reception Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Restoration Plaza's Skylight Gallery, 1368 Fulton St.