April 15, 2024


Yo Quiero Techno

Juxtapoz Magazine – Exploring Rammellzee’s Gothic Futurism

4 min read
Juxtapoz Magazine - Exploring Rammellzee's Gothic Futurism

The immersive world of the polyhedric graffiti writer, visual artist, musician, lyricist, performer, manner designer, innovator and thinker Rammellzee lands in Los Angeles this November. The exhibition surveys his oeuvre from his graffiti beginnings on the A practice in the mid-1970s to his fine arts and effectiveness practice produced about the subsequent three many years.

A accurate iconoclast, Rammellzee fully commited to his thinking and artwork-generating with an solution that was concurrently programmatic and shamanic. His esoteric manifestos encompassed philology and astrophysics and drew inspiration from present-day sensibility and medieval background alike. One of Rammellzee’s obsessions was a tale about medieval monks who produced lettering so ornate to be deemed unreadable by the higher ranks of the clergy and sooner or later received banned. In his eyesight, this story was evidence of the subversive, anti-establishment potential of lettering. It illuminated the path likewise undertaken by graffiti artists, who by rendering a name mysterious and unrecognizable, could liberate language from its intrinsic electric power constructions. This was the beginning of Rammellzee’s philosophy, “Gothic Futurism,” and the inventive method acknowledged as “Ikonoklast Panzerism.”

The weaponized letters of the alphabet were being, for Rammellzee, the inspiration for a fleet of spacecrafts for letter racing and galactic battles in a postapocalyptic sci-fi fantasy. Quintessentially Do it yourself and nevertheless futuristic, the sculptural sets of the Letter Racers are on watch at the gallery. They exemplify 1 of the aspects at the main of Rammellzee’s process: enjoying with metaphysical concepts in the actual physical earth.

Portion of a era that grew up for the duration of New York City’s notorious financial and infrastructure crisis, Rammellzee captured the decaying and lawless reality of the streets of Manhattan in thick levels of epoxy resin. Repurposed objects and trash turned ingenious applications to assemble and develop not only his Letter Racers but also numerous produced sculptures, painterly assemblages and clothes for his performances. By the early 1990s, Rammellzee had originated an Olympus of figures and change egos designed serious through costumes, paintings and built sculptures. He would embody the Rubbish Gods in their total-human body suits of armor, some of which weighed a lot more than a hundred pounds. The most paramount character, The Gasholeer, was even outfitted with a flamethrower.

Rammellzee was the embodiment of his artwork and theories. At moments contradictory and polarizing, he could enrage and amuse at the very same time. The magnetism of his inscrutable theoretical monologues can be perceived to this day. The critic Carlo McCormick poignantly remarked in an Artforum assessment from 1987: “Rammellzee’s artwork incorporates so a lot scientific, military services, and linguistic info that it is hard not to dismiss his baffling techno-poetry as self-indulgent babble. Conversely, nonetheless, Rammellzee’s innate perception of lyricism presents his mannered, mathematical prose a excellent that attracts one particular in, and the seamlessness of his conceptual creation potential customers a person to ponder regardless of whether the meaning is certainly decipherable and whether potentially it is only our ignorance that makes it seem like gibberish.”

Rammellzee was born in Significantly Rockaway, Queens, in 1960 to mom and dad of Italian and African American descent. In 1979, at nineteen, he legally improved his title to the equation RAMM:ELL:ZEE. Given that the 1980s, his function has been exhibited in galleries and museums and supported by worldwide collectors. As a musician, Rammellzee invented a nasal rap model regarded as “gangsta duck,” influential to artists these kinds of as the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill. He appeared in Charlie Ahearn’s legendary movie Wild Type (1982), and his 1983 music “Beat Bop”—produced and with a deal with style by Jean-Michel Basquiat—was featured prominently in Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver’s documentary Design and style Wars (1983). In the early 2000s, Rammellzee’s Rubbish Gods and his fleets of Letter Racers settled in his TriBeCa loft, identified as the “Battle Station,” which he barely remaining toward the conclude of his everyday living. Rammellzee died in 2010 at the age of forty-nine. His beginning name remains a mystery even to some of his closest mates.

In 1979, Rammellzee achieved the graffiti artist A-Just one at an evening course at Fit. A-One particular introduced him to the “Mitchell Crew,” the team of graffiti artists with whom he painted walls and trains. The crew was named after the housing project in the South Bronx the place the associates lived at the time: A-One particular on the eighth flooring, Kool Koor on the next flooring, and Poisonous across the avenue. The connection with Rammellzee was immediate and these artists joined him to turn into portion of TMK (Tag Learn Killers), the graffiti crew he started. “TMK was about defending the letter,” states artist Kool Koor. To develop into a member of TMK, artists had to establish their talent by executing a letter of the alphabet based on Rammellzee’s Ikonoklast Panzerism. Each and every artist responded to the process of arming the letter in their own type: Toxic’s was much more abstract, A-One’s figurative, and Kool Koor’s architectural. Gothic Futurism at Jeffrey Deitch options a gallery curated by the artist Kool Koor documenting the perform of TMK and the person universe of each individual artist.

Jeffrey Deitch satisfied Rammellzee in 1980 and preserved a dialogue with him for lots of yrs. He was with Rammellzee and Jean-Michel Basquiat in Los Angeles in 1983 when Basquiat painted his legendary operate Hollywood Africans showcasing a self-portrait and portraits of the artist Poisonous and Rammellzee. Deitch and Rammellzee invested numerous yrs preparing a gallery exhibition, but the task was hardly ever understood. Just after the artist’s loss of life, Deitch recreated the “Battle Station” in collaboration with the artist’s spouse Carmela in his 2011 Art in the Streets exhibition at the Museum of Modern day Art, Los Angeles. Gothic Futurism is Jeffrey Deitch’s 1st gallery exhibition in partnership with the Estate of Rammellzee. In loving memory of Carmela Zagari Rammellzee.



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