Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The RAMM:ELL:ZEE from MOCA on Vimeo.
One of hip-hop’s most enigmatic figures, RAMMELLZEE was a graffiti writer, rapper, and sculptor. Born in Far Rockaway. Queens, RAMMELLZEE began a brief graffiti career on the A train in the mid-1970s. By the early 1980s, he was creating paintings and three-dimensional sculptures of letters, many of which were shown in galleries and museums. RAMMELLZEE viewed lettering as a form of weaponry and believed graffiti could liberate the mystical power of the alphabet, as a theory put forth in the manifestos “Ikonoklast Panzerism” and “Gothic Futurism”. A reclusive artist, RAMMELLZEE all but stopped exhibiting his work in public and spent much of the last two decade of his life in his TriBeCa loft he called the Battle Station, where he was rarely photographed without wearing one of his handmade, science fiction-style masks. He died in 2010 at the age of 49.