Document presents a look at the collection’s most compelling ephemera, safeguarding hip-hop’s New York history and Keith Haring’s earliest ideas

Beyond an unassuming Chinatown stoop and up a flight of stairs sits a collection of some of New York’s coolest artifacts. Boo-Hooray broadly defines itself as an archive of 20th- and 21st-century cultural movements. This description is modest, to say the least. The collection is an ocean of subcultural history—as vast as it is deep.

Some of the pieces carry a lot of clout: early works by Keith Haring, before his signature figuration was developed, drafts of Bob Dylan’s first published writings, and Vivian Westwood book, never released to the public. The most interesting items, however, are perhaps less instantly identifiable: There are beautiful photographs that document the intimate beginnings of hip-hop in New York, zines from the ’90s that instruct readers on reverse shoplifting, and a miniature re-creation of CBGB’s bathroom, complete with tagged-up walls and a working light bulb. Though these objects lack association with figures as famous as Haring or Dylan, their presence is what makes Boo-Hooray truly special—keeping a part of history alive that might otherwise be easily forgotten.

“The collection is an ocean of subcultural history—as vast as it is deep.”

Boo-Hooray was founded in 2010 by the collector Johan Kugelberg. Born in Sweden, he moved to the States in 1988, finding home in New York’s music scene. He wrote for Spin Magazine, and served as one of the first employees of Matador Records; he immersed himself in the cultural landscape of the city—both past and present.

Kugelberg’s archival practice began with flipping rare records and books for cash. But after years as a music executive, he slowly realized that this pastime was actually his true passion. His interest in subculture—especially as it pertains to music—led him to the preservation of New York’s hip-hop history. He bought as much of the genre’s ephemera as he could—so much so that, in the Bronx, he earned the nickname of the ATM. Kugelberg’s collection picked up steam, eventually evolving into the official hip-hop archive at Cornell University. From there, he and the team at Boo-Hooray have worked to establish archives at multiple institutions, expanding into the realms of book publishing and the sale of rare books and ephemera.

Here, Document presents an inside look into Boo-Hooray’s collection—getting up close to Kugleberg’s favorite items, and hearing his thoughts on New York’s alternative cultures.