From Basquiat to Banksy, a Paris Gallery Highlights Three Decades of Street Art
Executed circa 1990.
From the Catalogue
Rammellzee was a prominent figure in the New York Street Art scene of the 1970s and 80s. While the practice of some of his contemporaries, such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, was limited to tagging subway platforms and the streets, the work of Rammellzee and artists including Lee Quiñones, LA II and Futura 2000 among others, extended to writing graffiti on subway cars. The work of the train graffiti writers was not only very dangerous, but also iconoclastic and a significant factor in setting the aesthetic backdrop to the creative street culture of New York at this time. Beyond his talents as a graffiti and visual artist, Rammellzee was also an early Hip Hop pioneer, fusing music with visual art and performance.
Rammellzee became a cult figure to this group of artists, and known for creating a detailed manifesto outlining his theory of Gothic Futurism – the idea that when liberated from linguistic structures, individual letters could be potent self-signifying enigmas. By incorporating fractured language and letters into his multimedia art practice, the artist explored the various ways of liberating language. Further to his focus on language in his work, the artist created a detailed mythology that incorporated many powerful figures, for whom he created costumes and built sculptures that he exhibited in his studio, which he called the Battle Station.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's
Estate of the Artist