RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder

Red Bull Arts New York is pleased to present RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder, the largest survey to date of one of the most influential yet overlooked artists of the 20th century. The exhibition will be on view from May 4–August 26, 2018. For the first time, the exhibition preview on May 3 will coincide with the first event of the 2018 edition of Red Bull Music Festival New York.


The cultural impact of the equation know as The RAMMΣLLZΣΣ (1960-2010)—legendary artist, graff writer, hip-hop pioneer, Gothic Futurist theoretician, and New York cult icon—laid the groundwork for today’s interdisciplinary creative hyphenates. A polymath who emerged from the late 1970’s New York City graffiti and hip hop culture as “King of the A Line,” Rammellzee has always been an in-the-know reference. Making striking cameos in works by his contemporaries, he took the stage in Charlie Ahearn’s early hip-hop film classic “Wild Style,” mesmerized in his cameo for director Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise,” and was depicted wearing his signature sunglasses by his one-time collaborator Jean-Michel Basquiat in the painting “Hollywood Africans.” RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s seminal record “Beat Bop”—produced and first issued by Basquiat—is still widely regarded as one of the foundational tracks of early rap, and has inspired myriad artists such as Parliament Funkadelic, the Beastie Boys and RATKING.


At the height of his career, RAMMΣLLZΣΣ rejected the art world and withdrew from society to his infamous Tribeca loft, the Battle Station, where he would complete his total work, including two iconic bodies of work that would cement his place in history. The first, his Letter Racers, combine the dynamic formalism of Italian Futurism with the dumpster-diving accumulation of plastic pop culture. These assemblages, mounted on skateboards or the chassis of remote-controlled cars, are both futuristic and derelict. The second, his pantheon of Garbage Gods, is a virtuosic army of techno-mythic figures, created from the detritus found strewn in the streets of New York City.


Taking over the entirety of Red Bull Arts New York, this expansive survey examines the evolution of RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s diverse body of work. From seminal post-graffiti works to his rare but robust formal output throughout the 1980s, and important artworks and sculptural series created primarily in the Battle Station over the last 20 years of his life. The exhibition gathers archival materials and artworks from RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s estate, collections around the world, and oral histories recently commissioned by Red Bull Arts New York. This historic exhibition aims to introduce a new generation to the artist-prophet from the edge who found himself, again and again, in the center of everything.


RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder is organized by Max Wolf and Carlo McCormick, with Candice Strongwater, Jeff Mao, and Christian Omodeo.


Exhibition Design and Architecture: studioSTIGSGAARD
Art Director: Erin Knutson
Production Manager: Amanda Contrada
Exhibition Manager: Kyle Clairmont
Jacques Exhibition Crew: Kyla Chevrier, Greg Kalliche, Nathaniel de Large
Gallery Manager: Jenny Slattery
Registrar: Beatriz Palacios


RED BULL ARTS NEW YORK is an experimental, non-commercial arts space dedicated to offering new opportunities to local and international artists by supporting bold ideas and ambitious projects. Red Bull Arts New York focuses on extending the boundaries of exhibition making; supporting the production of new work by emerging and established artists; presenting historical surveys and large-scale presentations; and exploring the intellectual and philosophical provocations of our contemporary ethos. Past exhibitions include Sarah Meyohas: Cloud of Petals(2017), Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno (2017), Bjarne Melgaard: The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment (2017), TOTAL PROOF: The GALA Committee 1995-1997 (2016), and BIO:DIP(2015), a two-person solo exhibition by Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham curated by Neville Wakefield, among others.

Start Date

May 4, 2018

End Date

August 26, 2018


12:00 PM - 07:00 PM


220 W 18th Street, New York, NY 10011

Event Type


More Information




[contact-form-7 id=”298″ title=”Contact form”]