Rammellzee Alphabet c. 1986

  • Not on view

RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, who called himself a “gothic futurist,” was an artist, rapper, and philosopher who theorized an idiosyncratic cosmology. Growing up in Queens in the 1970s, he spray-painted subway cars to create art that would move around the city. Just as these works challenged police officers, he battled the rules of English by inventing the alphabet shown in these drawings. Each letter is rendered in pencil and bundled within elaborate swoops of marker. With frenzied curves that recall armored vehicles, illuminated manuscripts, or coded symbols, these letters form a politically potent language unrestrained by what RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ called “phony formations” and “tricknowledgies.”

Gallery label from "Collection: 1940s—1970s", 2019
Felt-tip pen and pencil on paper
11 × 8 1/2" (27.9 × 21.6 cm)
Gift of the Gilbert B. and Lila Silverman Instruction Drawing Collection, Detroit
Object number
© 2024 The Rammellzee Estate
Drawings and Prints

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