1960 - 2010
titled and inscribed 1 Beat Boy, ONE, two on the reverse
acrylic, spray paint and graphite on museum board
Paperboard: 31 by 40 in. (78.7 by 101.5 cm.)
Framed: 33⅞ by 42⅞ in. (86 by 109 cm.)
Executed circa 1983.
The Estate of the artist
This work is in very good condition overall. The paperboard is hinged along the edges of the reverse to the backing board. There are tonal shifts throughout due to the artist's chosen media. There is minor wear to the edges and minor lifting at the corners, visible upon close inspection. Framed under Plexiglas.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
The Estate of the artist
Rammellzee was a prominent figure in the New York Street Art scene in the 1980s alongside Basquiat and Keith Haring. The American artist is known for his graffiti and mixed-media sculptures, as well as a pioneer of early Hip Hop, recording Beat Bop with K-Rob in 1983.
Rammellzee is known for his theory of Gothic Futurism, which contends that when liberated from linguistic structures, individual letters can be potent self-signifying enigmas. With spiky lettering, he describes a battle between letters and the standardization imposed by the rules of the alphabet. “The idea is to read this stuff, for humans to have something to read, not just blow them away”.
The artist typically performed and appeared publicly in masks and costumes of his own design, portraying different characters which sometimes represented a mathematical equation ‘hidden’ in Rammellzee’s nickname. That constructed persona was almost inextricable from his visual artwork.
Rammellzee’s works are generally associated with Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, Afrocentricity, and magical realism with non-Western cosmologies to revise and re-examine historical events. Rammellzee’s art has been exhibited internationally, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012. The artist passed away on June 27, 2010 at the age of 49.