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Futuristic Hip-Hop Art Exhibit Opening at Children's Museum of the Arts

By Andrea Swalec | October 4, 2012 12:39pm

MANHATTAN — The Downtown artist, graffiti writer and MC Rammellzee walked the streets of Manhattan in the '80s and '90s wearing elaborate, full-body costumes, showing his art in a jam-packed TriBeCa loft he called "The Battle Station."

Starting Thursday, selections from Rammellzee's invented mythological world — including costumes, figurines, large-scale paintings and masks — will go on display at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

CMA board president Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman said she hopes "The Rammellzee Galaxseum" exhibit will open children's minds to the wild possibilities of art. 

“At a time when many are concerned that young people are plugged in and tuned out, CMA's exhibitions seek to ignite our visitors' imaginations and to inspire their creativity," she said in a statement. "CMA is honored to promote the work of an artist whose constant creative output consistently pushed the boundaries of imagination." 

The exhibit traces Rammellzee's career and the complex network of characters he created that fall into categories like "Recyclers," "Trashers" and "Monster Models." His work has rarely been shown since his death in 2010 at age 49, museum staff said. 

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Laight Street building that housed the Battle Station was sold and Rammellzee and his wife, Carmela Zagari, moved to an ordinary apartment, the New York Times reported. Rammellzee's work subsequently went into storage. 

Zagari said children made a good audience for the science-fiction-inspired art of her husband, who recorded the 1983 hip-hop single "Beatbop" with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

“It’s very fitting that Rammellzee’s work is now on display at the Children’s Museum of the Arts,” she said in a statement. “Many children visited the Battle Station through the years and were enthralled by the characters and mythology my husband created.”

"The Rammellzee Galaxseum" will be on display at the Children's Museum of the Arts through Feb. 3, 2013. The 103 Charlton St. museum is open Monday and Wednesday 12 to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday 12 to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Tuesday. Admission costs $11 per person, with infants under a year old free. Admission Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. is pay-as-you-wish.