In American slang, funky (meaning “smelly”), was a term used as a racist insult towards African Americans. In the 1950s, certain black musicians reappropriated the term (Horace Silver, Funk Opus, 1953), turning the stigma on its head to designate an emerging musical style at the crossroads of gospel, blues, soul and rock. It gave center stage to rhythm, brass and syncopated patterns, and reflected the political and social context in which it emerged: racial inequalities in the United States, the emergence of the Black Panthers and opposition to the Vietnam War. It is this power, both aesthetic and political, that interests Jay Ramier. For his exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, he recreates a concert hall from the 1970s, for its decor and glitter as well as for what it holds: the tragedy and politics that permeate these musicians and the lives of those they represent.

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