Think your kids live in a fantasy world? Just wait until you get a load of The RAMMELLZEE Galaxseum, the brand-new exhibit at the Children's Museum of the Arts. This retrospective of work by RAMMELLZEE—including paintings, action figures, comic books, videos and full-body costumes—is totally mind-blowing. The late NYC graffiti and hip-hop artist created his own highly-detailed mythology called Gothic Futurism featuring crazy characters engaging in epic intergalactic battles over letters, words and language. While RAMMELLZEE's wild style might be a bit intense for young children, it should appeal to school-age kids, especially those into comic books, fantasy novels or sci-fi movies.
It's evident that RAMMELLZEE put his heart and soul into his work—it was basically his entire life. Back in the '80s, he transformed his Tribeca loft into the "Battle Station" filled with Garbage Gods ("Recyclers") led by Alpha Positive, and Monster Models ("Trashers") led by his evil twin brother Lord's Minus. Confused? Don't worry about it. Even if the details of RAMMELLZEE's world are lost on your family, kids will respond to his outrageous vision.
While my four-year-old needed constant reassurance that his statues weren't going to come alive, tweens should love his edgy creations. The slide show above gives you a good idea of what to expect. RAMMELLZEE experimented in a wide variety of mediums and presented his characters in numerous forms. He carved figurines and photographed them, painted frescoes, crafted masks and costumes, and even recorded himself playing the characters! And of course he created a comic book to chronicle the overall narrative. Chances are your kids (and you) have never seen anything like this. If you want to read more about RAMMELLZEE's life and work, The New York Times wrote an enlightening article about his legacy earlier this year.
As with all of its exhibits, CMA is hosting many ongoing hands-on art workshops in conjunction with the show that are free with museum admission. In Fine Arts with RAMMELLZEE, kids will explore his art and then try working in multiple mediums including painting, sculpture, illustration and music. In RAMMELLZEE In The Media Lab, kids will craft sets and characters to make stop-motion shorts inspired by his world. And in honor of Halloween, there will be a one-day-only celebration on Saturday, October 27 when kids can make costumes and spooky animation, and work on a cardboard haunted house, all in his Gothic Futurism style. Check the online calendar for a comprehensive list of offerings.
The RAMMELLZEE Galaxseum is on view through Sunday, February 3, 2013 at the Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street between Hudson and Greenwich Streets. Free with admission: $11.
Read about other cool exhibits for kids in our Museum Guide.