During the Memorial Day weekend of this year I once again visited New York, an annual trip I’ve been making since around 1995. I took in the Rammellzee exhibition at the Red Bull Arts Centre as part of the Red Bull Music Festival. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of this artist in a long time, and never really took the time to really survey his work because much of it was in the hands of collectors since the early 80’s.
Friends of mine know that I can often be exaggerative about music, film, and art in general: “this is the best song ever”, until the next week when the next best song ever comes out. This time it’s for real though. This was probably the best curated art show with regards to the history of early New York Hip-Hop and especially a timeline of one of the most influential graffiti artists.
I have spent the last two decades researching and cataloguing various documents related to the era of New York between 1977-1984 and its impact on popular culture up until the present day, even making it the focus of my master’s film thesis. So for me to see a body of work in one place was as they say “utterly breath taking”. At one point I sat down inside the makeshift theatre, watching an old video of him performing live with Basquiat’s signature titles (not unlike what he did on TV Party) typed out over top, and almost started crying.
What I present below are just a few photographs of the display (to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take pictures and at one point just said fuck it, I don’t want to be one of those people), scanned copies of the hand out at the front desk, a printed article The New Yorker, and a video made by Red Bull about the artist. I wish I could have taken some pictures of the costumes he made but I guess you will have to look that up for yourself or one day hope that Red Bull will tour this exhibition.